Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Crowd (1928)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Crowd (1928)

In King Vidor's urban melodrama:

  • the staircase scene in 1912 when a young 12 year-old boy climbed claustrophobic, steep stairs and near the top learned that his father had died; he was told (in a title card: "You must be brave now, little your father would want you to be")
  • the arrival of ambitious, wide-eyed 21 year-old John Sims (James Murray) in NYC, with marvelous visuals capturing New York City's teeming streets, and the enormous crowd shots
John Sims at His Desk in a NYC Skyscraper
  • the sweeping camera sequence from curbside outside a towering skyscraper, moving up the face of the building and through a upper window and zeroing in (with a dissolve) on the view of a low-level, dehumanized office worker John Sims lost in a sea of desks lined up in rows - positioned at desk 137; in fact, he was not working, but watching the clock in anticipation of a 5:00 pm quitting time (the sequence was paid homage to in Billy Wilder's The Apartment (1960)), and pondering answers for a get-rich-quick $100 prize contest by naming a "new motor fuel" (his entries included Petrol-Pep and Jazz-o-Lene)
  • the romantic/courtship scenes between the two young lovers John and Mary (Eleanor Boardman) - especially in the sequences on Coney Island (The Tunnel of Love, amusement park rides, etc.), and he attempted to kiss her but she was reluctant at first: "Gee...I oughtn't to let you kiss me" - but then freely allowed him to romance her
Coney Island Sequence: John on Date with Mary (Eleanor Boardman)
  • soon afterwards after a tiring day and ride back on the train to the city, John impulsively proposed to Mary resting in his arms ("Mary, let's you and me get married"); she nodded in agreement, and soon they were married, spending their honeymoon at Niagara Falls
  • in the hospital, the scene of John's anxiety over the birth of their first child - and his whispered words to his wife when the baby boy was delivered to their bedside: ("This is all I've needed to make me try harder, dear...I'll be somebody now, I promise.")
Tragic Truck Accident, Killing Young Daughter - Horrifed Reaction
  • the couple's reaction to the accidental death of their young second child, a daughter, who was accidentally hit by a truck as she raced across a busy NYC street - reflected on the horrified faces of the parents who were watching from a nearby window
  • the poignant scene of suicidal John with his young son on a railroad overpass when the boy restored John's faith in himself by expressing his unconditional love
  • and the final sequence of the reconciled couple enjoying a comical vaudeville show as the camera pulled back and they became anonymous in the audience

Young John Climbing Stairs With News of Father's Death

John Sims
(James Murray)

Honeymooning at Niagara Falls

John's Anxiety in the Hospital Over The Birth of Their First Child

Young Son's Unconditional Love For Suicidal Father

Ending - John and Mary Seated in a Vaudeville Show Audience


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