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 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 with a Frenchwoman, but has to leave her to move to the frontline. Written by
Philip Apps <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Four years after making "The Big Parade," King Vidor re-staged one of its most famous scenes --Jimmy going off to battle and leaving Melisande behind-- in Show People (1928), a comedy starring Marion Davies as an actress trying to become a Hollywood star. In "Show People" Davies and William Haines played the parts originally played in "The Big Parade" by 'Renee Adoree' and 'John Gilbert'. See more »
The three future recruits live in New York City (one works construction on a skyscraper, another works a bar in the Bowery), but during the recruitment parade, there are shots of wide avenues lined with low buildings and palm trees - clearly shots of 1920s Los Angeles. See more »
King Vidor's "The Big Parade" is the biggest blockbuster from the silent era, and, I am told, the movie gold standard to which all others were compared well into the 1930s. ("The Big Parade" was released in 1925).
The story focuses on three American doughboys, fighting in Europe during WWI. Two are working class; a tobacco spitting riveter, Slim, a barkeep, Bull, and a ne'er-do-well son of wealth, Jim, who was shamed into enlisting by his family. These three go through the hardships of military training together, bond, and become fast friends. Their friendships deepen after they are shipped to France where Jim falls in love with a French farm girl. This comprises the first half of the 2 ½ hour movie. The second half of the movie is the gritty reality of trench warfare.
Some say that this is one of the first big-budget anti-war movies. I don't quite agree. The movie shows the human cost of war without condemning it outright. Remember that WWI was 'the war to end all wars', and in 1925 this was still a possibility. But "The Big Parade" does take an unflinching look at the affect of war on both combatants and non-combatants.
The performances and direction are excellent and silent or not, this is a movie well worth seeing.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?