The young Gascon D'Artagnan arrives in Paris, his heart set on joining the king's Musketeers. He is taken under the wings of three of the most respected and feared Musketeers, Porthos, ... See full summary »
Nigel De Brulier
Julio Madariaga is the Argentine patriarch of a wealthy family. He has two daughters, the elder wed to a Frenchman and the other to a German. He prefers the Frenchman and his family, especially his grandson Julio, causing jealousy from the German and his three sons. When Madariaga dies, the family splits up, each son-in-law returning to his own country. The Frenchman and his own move to Paris, where Julio becomes an artist and has an affair with an unhappily married woman, the lovely Marguerite Laurier. Her husband finds out, but before he can finalize a divorce, World War One rears its head and both sides of the family will endure great suffering in the conflict, especially since they must fight one another on the battlefield. Written by
Rudolph Valentino signed onto the film for $350 a week, less than Wallace Beery earned for his small role as a German officer. Metro provided Valentino only with his Argentine gaucho costume and his French soldier's uniform. For the Parisian sequence Valentino purchased more than 25 custom-fitted suits from a New York tailor, which he spent the next year paying for. See more »
Is it not enough to lead my son into wild ways without teaching my daughter the tango?
Will you have the boy grow up like those glass-eyed, carrot-topped sharks of your sister's?
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The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse (Rex Ingram, 1921) ***1/2
I had always wanted to watch this Silent version of the Vicente Blasco Ibanez novel (who, incidentally, wrote MARE NOSTRUM as well - also filmed by Ingram in 1926), especially since it's considered to be vastly superior to the 1961 Vincente Minnelli remake in color and widescreen - which is a film I've watched quite a few times and which I've actually always liked! Still, now I can't help but agree that the remake is virtually overblown in every department by comparison with the original; the only thing I could find where it improved on the Silent version is the relationship between Julio and his German cousin, which is rather underdeveloped in Ingram's film (though in both versions, the two of them die together).
The large-scale production is truly impressive, with settings ranging from rural Argentina to the French aristocracy and the grimy battlefields of World War I - not to mention a striking vision of Hell, with a gigantic fire-breathing demon unleashing the somber and ominous titular figures. The cast is certainly efficient, though some of the familiar names actually only gained popularity years later (Alan Hale, Wallace Beery and Jean Hersholt): Rudolph Valentino was shot to super-stardom with his role of the gigolo who develops a conscience and gives his life for a country which is not even his (a miscast Glenn Ford was certainly no match for him in the remake!); the tango sequence is justly celebrated, but his performance is excellent throughout (again, this might very well constitute his best work). Needless to say, the female lead was played by Ingram's own wife Alice Terry; also worth mentioning is Nigel De Brulier as a gaunt and gloomy exiled Russian who 'sees' the Four Horsemen and predicts the extent of their havoc. Though quite slow-going, the plot is compelling and the handling vivid enough to withstand its hefty 134-minute duration; as a matter of fact, the film is probably the most notable epic 'family saga' since D.W. Griffith's THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) which, obviously, had dealt with the American Civil War and its turbulent aftermath.
I've watched 6 Rex Ingram films so far and, apparently, the only two surviving titles of his I've yet to catch up with are THE ARAB (1924) and THE GARDEN OF ALLAH (1927); this is possibly the finest of them, however, despite being the oldest - and I'm surprised it still hasn't made it to DVD (from Warners), ideally as a 2-Disc Set in order to include the Sound remake...
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