Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (who Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »
Gabriel de Gravone
In 1918 a simple Mongolian herdsman escapes to the hills after brawling with a western capitalist fur trader who cheats him. In 1920 he helps the partisans fight for the Soviets against the... 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>
Early in the movie, we see James Apperson announce that he has enlisted. His father, who had been sternly lecturing him moments before, comes up and congratulates him. Suddenly, the father now has a lit cigar in his mouth, with a long ash, indicating he's been smoking it for at least a while. But all the time prior, we saw no sign that the father had a lit cigar anywhere on him or near him. See more »
As each 'Big Parade' passes, it becomes increasingly more hollow
This movie traces three men from the same American town. The men are from different social and economic backgrounds. Jim (John Gilbert) is the rich son of a mill owner, 'Bull' (Tom O'Brian) is a bartender, and Slim (Darl Dane) is a riveter in construction work. When America joins the Great War in Europe all three enlist. As usual in movies of this type, there is a patriotic fervor in the town at the time that they join up. Jim's girl, Justyn (Claire Adams), is one of the first to assume that Jim will enlist and make her proud. This is the first use of the term, 'The Big Parade' on the movie's title cardsthe big parade of patriotic people sending boys off to war. For the first 75 minutes of the movie, we get to really KNOW these three lovable and fun-loving guys, long before they actually go into any battle situations in Europe.
While in a French village waiting for a battle, Jim meets a villager, Melisande (Renee Adoree). The movie spends time with Jim and Melisande as they try to communicate with each other in two different languages and have lots of fun and laughs together. When Jim and his buddies are actually called into action, Jim promises Melisande that he will be back. The long convoys of trucks and marching soldiers advancing into battle is the second use of 'The Big Parade' on the movie's title cards.
The battle scenes are very well done showing bombing, large guns, mustard gas, aerial attacks, and hand-to hand combat. Much of the time, the three soldiers are in trenches or in bomb holes. When the commander orders one of them to clean out an enemy stronghold, the question is which one will be 'IT.' Slim sets up a spitting contest to determine which of the three will go. Slim easily wins--which means that he will go. When he doesn't return, his two friends become very anxious about him. Slim dies.
Bull later dies in another assault. Jim gets hurt in the leg and is sent to an army hospital in another 'Big Parade' sequence. While in the hospital, he finds out that it is near the village where he left Melisande. In a search of her, he only finds a deserted house in the bombed out village. He is again wounded and sent home. Of course, his homecoming is another 'Big Parade.' However, after the term is used several times on the movie's title cards, it becomes increasingly more hollow and sarcastic.
After seeing this movie and Vidor's The Crowd (1928), I am convinced that he was one of the really great SILENT directors! His movies stress beautiful images and bustling action rather than broad acting gestures. They are both playful and sad; the are replete with a realism that conveys genuine emotion.
As one watches these movies, they don't seem contrived; they seem to be about REAL PEOPLE living real lives. Vidor's magic seems to be in the WAY he captures people and events without the use of sound. At least in these two movies, he is not afraid to let the story unfold naturally. These movies seem as fresh today as they were when they were first released.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this