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Spaces that set trends on screen

The Crowd: the contrast between then and now.

The Crowd is one of the most transcendental films in the history of American silent cinema.

Its director, King Vidor (renowned American director of silent films), after the success obtained with the film ‘The Big Parade’, decided to choose to turn the genre around with a more intimate and simple perspective, wanting to follow the line of realistic cinema, something that in the Hollywood of the 20s was innovative.



Directed and written by Vidor, the master behind its impressive settings was the genius Henry Sharp, and between the two of them, they would bring to life the iconic scene that would forever be carved in the memory of viewers of the time: an office with endless lines of identical desks.

It is this scene where the main contrast between the interior design in offices of decades ago is reflected compared to how it is today. A vision of conformity and order, of monotony and boredom that identified interior design in the past. And since everything in the cinema is symbolic, this scene is also a way of seeing what the spirit of the employees of the late 20s was like who, like the title expresses it, was a crowd of people who within them yearned for more, to get up from their desks and set off in search of the true dream.



To achieve the impact that it caused at the time, the way it was filmed was key. Vidor could be considered a hyperactive director, who liked to watch the camera move, so his perfection of the silent film camera sweep technique helped him make a difference. He also used techniques of tilting and tracing from above and to infinity, achieving a portrait of New York as a futuristic, almost surreal landscape.

If we look at The Crowd with the critical eye of modernity, we can see John Sins (the protagonist of the film, played by James Murray), with the same eyes as an employee of today. The one who comes to New York in search of a dream to succeed, wanting to stand out from the masses, just as happens in the movie, where John shows viewers how adapting to a crowd can be used to create the best opportunities.