The idle son of a rich businessman joins the army when the U.S.A. enters World War One. He is sent to France, where he becomes friends with two working-class soldiers. He also falls in love... See full summary »
The Minivers, an English "middle-class" family experience life in the first months of World War II. While dodging bombs, the Miniver's son courts Lady Beldon's granddaughter. A rose is ... See full summary »
Engineer Jake Holman arrives aboard the gunboat U.S.S. San Pablo, assigned to patrol a tributary of the Yangtze in the middle of exploited and revolution-torn 1926 China. His iconoclasm and... See full summary »
Jerry Seevers returns from World War I service broken in health and his doctor tells him he has only six months to live. His fiancée jilts him and he sets out to drink himself to death. In ... See full summary »
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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