A wealthy young American, bred to class distinction and racial intolerance, enters the Marines during the First World War. In the course of his training and his experiences in the trenches ...
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A wealthy young American, bred to class distinction and racial intolerance, enters the Marines during the First World War. In the course of his training and his experiences in the trenches fighting, being wounded by, and being hospitalized with Germans, he comes to a recognition of the equality and brotherhood of men. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
An excellent melodrama from World War One, with von Stroheim as an over-the-top Hun who rips the hair from Belgian children, knocks down grandmothers, shoots them, tries to rape women and destroys German soldiers' musical instruments with the statement "You are here to fight, not to fiddle!" -- the Man You Love To Hate in full roar. The story itself, is about an aristocratic Long Islander who finds God and a love of his fellow man in the clean dry trenches. It is, in essence, fairly typical of the sort of war film made in the era and its prettying of the battlefield in understandable in the context of propaganda.
This movie, sometimes credited as the last release of the Edison film unit, is magnificently directed by Alan Crosland, who would go on to direct THE JAZZ SINGER and other good movies: he is another of the under-appreciated silent directors. I wrote 'magnifcently' and I mean it. The story is told clearly and interestingly with every shot well composed and fine use of cutting speed to increase tension. If you have any taste at all for silent movies, you need to see this one.
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