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 »
A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily ... 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 <email@example.com>
The unit portrayed is the 42d Infantry Division (Rainbow Division) as determined by the three color (red-yellow-blue) rainbow patch (long version) worn on the upper left sleeve of the uniform. Casualties were so high that post-war the patch was cut in half and worn on the forward half of the sleeve instead of centered because "we left half our rainbow in France." During the transport scene the tailgates of the trucks are all painted with "42" and then the truck number. The credits thank the 2d Division (Indianhead) so painting the "4" prior to the pre-existing "2" may have facilitated that. The 42d Division was later a New York Army National Guard unit and you could find units in Syracuse, Geneva, etc. See more »
When Jim is getting dressed in the hayloft for his date, Slim jokingly refers to him as "Mr. Hemingway". When the film was being made in 1924-25 Ernest Hemingway was becoming famous, but in the movie's time frame of 1917, he was still unknown. See more »
[War has been declared. America is going to enter WWI, which sets off a wave of patriotic fervor]
What a thing is patriotism! We go for years not knowing we have it. Suddenly - Martial music!... Native flags!... Friends cheer!... and it becomes life's greatest emotion!
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gratefully acknowledges the splendid co-operation of the Second Division, United States Army and Air Service Units, Kelly Field. See more »
This is one of the best silent movies ever made, and probably the best WWI movie ever made, silent or sound. It's one of the greatest movies I have seen to show how war can turn one man's world upside down, yet not necessarily in a completely negative way as have other films. The direction is superb. The acting is wonderful. In particular, Renee Adoree's character is adorable as the French heroine. In one of the movie's most romantic scenes (and a much parodied one), Renee's character anxiously finds Gilbert, who is in the process of moving on to battle. When they unite, the two almost can't be seperated, even as the cars are moving. It's one of the most emotional scenes ever.
Then there are the battle scenes, which are stellar. The character development is wonderful, as lazy, rich boy Jim joins the war only to please his friends and fiancee. Then, he finds out what war is all about, as well as true love. "Slim" makes a nice comedic supporting character, who again is finally seen in a different light in the face of battle.
One thing I should note, is that the version of this film I saw is the one scored by Carl Davis. I also heard his score for "the Lodger" and thought it was distracting if anything. But this score is an example of the perfect silent score. It actually shows the maximum "potential" of the film. It's always appropriate, is molded to every scene, takes advantage of a modern orchestra while still preserving several stylistic nuances of older films. Kudos to Mr. Davis for a fine score.
Finally, why wasn't there room for this on AFI's 100 list? It's certainly better than "the Jazz Singer" or "Easy Rider", and probably a ton of others on the list. Part of the problem, I realize is that so few people have seen this. There's only about 150 votes so far on this site. This masterpiece should be seen at least once by any serious film lover. A perfect 10!
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