7.9/10
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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)

Passed | | Drama, Romance, War | May 1922 (Japan)
An extended family split up in France and Germany find themselves on opposing sides of the battlefield during World War I.

Director:

Writers:

(novel) (as Vicente Blasco Ibañez), (written for the screen by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pomeroy Cannon ...
...
Bridgetta Clark ...
...
Virginia Warwick ...
...
Mabel Van Buren ...
...
...
Etienne Laurier (as John Sainpolis)
...
Mark Fenton ...
Sen. Lacour
Derek Ghent ...
René Lacour
...
Tchernoff (as Nigel de Brulier)
Bowditch M. Turner ...
Argensola (as Brodwitch Turner)
...
Lodgekeeper
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Storyline

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 cupcakes

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Valentino's greatest romantic success. (Newspaper ad cut, 1926 reissue). See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

May 1922 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Die vier Reiter der Apokalypse  »

Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$9,200,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (1993 alternate)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

[last lines]
Tchernoff: Peace has come - but the Four Horsemen will still ravage humanity - stirring unrest in the world - until all hatred is dead and only love reigns in the heart of mankind.
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Connections

Featured in Naked Tango (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Apocalypse Theme
(1993)
Music by Carl Davis
Based on the Fantasia Sonata "Après une Lecture de Dante" by Franz Liszt (1849)
In the score of the 1993 alternate version
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User Reviews

 
Stereotyped portrayal of Germans blurs anti-war-message
19 May 2009 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

This is surely a visually magnificent film to watch, especially if you get to see a copy of the tinted Photoplay restoration with a great score by Carl Davis.

It strikes me however that few commentators here seem to bother about the very nasty portrayal of German people in this film. Despite its claims for universality, condemning WWI in general and not just a single nation (or class for that matter) involved in it, the image of the Germans is no different from the wartime propaganda huns as portrayed by Erich von Stroheim and others. They appear as arrogant, cold, ugly, brutal, grotesque, greedy, militaristic idiots, who even in peacetime in a civilian/family setting march in line and click their heels all the time. Julio's three cousins are portrayed as bespectacled, mischievously grinning jerks who obey their father's commands as if he was an army officer, even as children. They are even shown reading Nietzsche's Zarathustra and it's appraisals of the warrior man as if it was some kind of a bible. A race of villainous, natural born warmongers, it seems. Now this can hardly be the basis for an honest anti-war-movie. Compare this portrayal to the very different, more human and sympathetic image of German people in John Ford's FOUR SONS and of course ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. Despite the now-campiness of these scenes in question I find them still quite offensive and hard to watch, even given that most silent movies made heavy use of strong contrasts and stereotyping. I guess in 1920 the anti-German resentments in the US were still very strong, which even caused D. W. Griffith to absurdly switch a German refugee family in post-war Berlin into a polish refugee family in ISN'T LIFE WONDERFUL - as late as 1924!

All this shift from anti-war-intentions to merely anti-German clichés somewhat betrays the "message" of the movie, which admittedly comes across quite rhetorical and pretentious in the first place, and is indeed one of the movie's weakest and most dated points. It just seems to be tagged onto the Valentino adultery romance story for mere dramatic effect (as in the vision of the Apocalyptic Horsemen and the final graveyard scene). But overall the war theme doesn't really stand in the center of the movie.


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