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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)

Passed | | Drama, Romance, War | March 1921 (USA)
An extended family split up in France and Germany find themselves on opposing sides of the battlefield during World War I.

Director:

Rex Ingram

Writers:

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pomeroy Cannon Pomeroy Cannon ... Madariaga
Josef Swickard ... Marcelo Desnoyers
Bridgetta Clark Bridgetta Clark ... Doña Luisa
Rudolph Valentino ... Julio Desnoyers
Virginia Warwick Virginia Warwick ... Chichí
Alan Hale ... Karl von Hartrott
Mabel Van Buren ... Elena
Stuart Holmes ... Otto von Hartrott
John St. Polis ... Etienne Laurier (as John Sainpolis)
Alice Terry ... Marguerite Laurier
Mark Fenton Mark Fenton ... Senator Lacour
Derek Ghent Derek Ghent ... René Lacour (as Derrick Ghent)
Nigel De Brulier ... Tchernoff (as Nigel de Brulier)
Bowditch M. Turner Bowditch M. Turner ... Argensola (as Brodwitch Turner)
Edward Connelly ... 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:

The picture that swept the world off its feet! (Newspaper ad cut, 1926 reissue). See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

None

Release Date:

March 1921 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die vier Reiter der Apokalypse See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$9,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (1993 restored)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening night film of the 2014 San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The Mont Alto Orchestra provided live musical accompaniment for the Castro Theater screening. See more »

Goofs

The same shot of a cat clawing at a small poodle while sitting on top of a piano is used two different times. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: In a world old in hatred and bloodshed, where nation is crowded against nation and creed against creed, centuries of wars have sown their bitter seed, and the fires of resentment smouldering beneath the crust of civilization but await the breaking of the Seven Seals of Prophecy to start a mighty conflagration.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1993 Turner Entertainment in association with Britain's Channel Four distributed a full restoration by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill's Photoplay Productions. The restoration includes many scenes that had been deleted or thought missing since the film's premiere, including original tinting and a single shot of a brief Prizma Color sequence that had been in the original release. The restored film is accompanied by a new original score composed and conducted by Carl Davis. See more »

Connections

Version of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Apocalypse Theme
(1993)
Music by Carl Davis
Based on the Fantasia Sonata "Après une lecture du Dante" by Franz Liszt (1849)
Performed by Orchestre Symphonique de Radio-Télé Luxembourg (as Symphony Orchestra of Radio-Télé Luxembourg) lead by Philippe Koch
In the score of the 1993 restored version
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stereotyped portrayal of Germans blurs anti-war-message
19 May 2009 | by Lichtmesz23See 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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