The Crowd in the words of Karl Marx
Viewing Manhattan by ferry John Sims and his Comrade are taken in by the illusion of the gilded skyline and imaginary streets paved with gold. Sims
pathetically states that they will "really make it in this town" with a vigor that speaks of naiveté not uncommon among the proletariate.. But in his hearts of hearts is Sims aware that they he is really nothing but a cog in the wheels of capitalism? Cannon fodder for the bourgeois to do the bourgeois dirty work. Americas bourgeoisie have always been brilliantly adapt at keeping the proletariat down thru a divide and conquer mentality. Yes, Sims is nothing but proletariat cannon fodder for the bourgeois to be chewed up and spit out and replaced by another worker..
Upon entering the city sims is taken in by the wondrous skyline of skyscrapers built with incredible engineering skills by the bourgeois, an impressive sight really to all who witness, inspiring a sense of awe and fear much like the cathedrals built long ago in europe inspired fear and awe among the common folk. Yet these new buildings or skyscrapers as it be are really temples built in the honor and praise of capitalism and the free market system not in praise of a god but in praise of money. Sims is taken in by the huge masses of workers walking the streets who seemingly are unaware of each others existence much like drones in a bee colony. The cold, lonely and impersonal nature of capitalism is for all to see in the large city.
We then encounter Mr.Sims in his place of employment. Endless rows of workers sitting at their desk engaged in some mind numbing task that supports the bourgeois while the proletariat barley makes enough money to live. The absurdity and tragedy of capitalism is clearly represented in this particular scene. We then see Sims running from his desk after work to the washroom where he is humiliated by his fellow workers. The Bourgioses game is one of exploitation and illusion and is interwoven into the capitalist system to keep the proletariat down.
Mr Sims dulls the pointlessness of his existence by joining a a friend and some women who they have just met and they go for a bus ride to Coney Island. During this bus ride Sims eyes a clown on the street selling advertisement for a cafe and exclaims to his new friend "I bet his Daddy thought he would be president". which points out sims ignorance that he too in actuality is a clown in the scheme and brutality of capitalism.
After this Sims and his new girlfriend quickly establish a relationship with one another marry and fall in love have a child and dream of owning a house. A common dream of the American proletariat of course is owning a house. Unfortunately things do not work out for Mr. Sims. After a series of failed Jobs and no work other then some work as a juggling clown Sims dream of home ownership is quashed by his inability to sustain a livable income in the free market system. With a economic depression looming on the horizon Mr.Sims hopes of any type of life for his family throws him into a profound depression and suicide attempt. Mr.Sims is another victim picked clean by the hideousness of Capitalism.
The Crowd in the word of Engels
I viewed the film the Crowd by king Vidor and I was struck how things have not really changed since I visited Manchester during that terrible time in England known as the industrial revolution. Visiting America I was struck at the pointless meaning of life under capitalism. Workers still did mind numbing work for little pay while the bourgeoisie got fatter. Behind the facade of towering skyscrapers and the sugarcoating of mindless entertainment and instant gratification their was still an underbelly of loneliness and lack of love. Lines of men looking for work that did not exist was a pitiful sight and our protagonist Mr. Sims was nearly driven to suicide. The most gainful employment was working as a juggling clown for a cafe. His thoughts of having a house and happy life were crushed by the realties of the capitalist system in which one can work and work but never get ahead while the one percent of the population reaps the benefits of the capitalist structure. The coldhearted realities of Capitalism were well on display in The Crowd.