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 ... See full summary »
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>
The Edison Company, despite being a pioneer film company, was unable to sustain success with feature films. The company suffered from a myriad of problems, including chronic inability to retain talent, distribution issues and the stigma of being virtually at the center of the losing end of the infamous Patent War, which led to the creation of the film industry in Hollywood in 1913. Edison would produce only one more film after The Unbeliever (1918) and shut down all production by March, 1918. See more »
This World War I drama is still worthwhile, with an interesting and sometimes thought-provoking story, as well as high quality craftsmanship for its time. The story effectively combines civilian and military settings to develop the characters and to bring out its main points. The cast members all give solid performances, usually allowing the material to speak louder than their own gestures or actions. The scenes of battle and of military life were made with the participation of a battalion of US Marines, and as a result the detail and atmosphere are quite realistic.
The story follows a young man from an upper class family, as his life and attitudes change as the result of serving at the front. It brings out contrasting perspectives about the war itself and also about class differences, religious belief, and the like. Having been made with the war still in progress, it's understandable if on occasion the issues are simplified just a little, but overall it provides some worthwhile thoughts. Director Alan Crosland puts things together nicely, and tells the story at a good pace.
Amongst other things, it memorably depicts the horrible ordeal of the civilians innocently stuck near the fighting zones. It is also quite interesting that the rank-and-file German soldiers are often portrayed sympathetically, while the German officers (one of whom is portrayed by a young-looking Erich Von Stroheim) are shown as the ones responsible for the outrages and inhuman actions.
Whether because of the grueling nature of the conflict, or for some other reason, World War I inspired many fine movies that hold up many years later. Although this feature doesn't have quite the complexity or depth of purpose of the greatest World War I movies like "The Big Parade" or "All Quiet On The Western Front", it still has quite a bit to say, and it does so rather effectively.
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