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>
Officially, MGM stated that studio electrician Carl Barlow had died during production when he slipped and fell off a platform. However, what actually happened was that a shelf collapsed above him and he was crushed to death by lighting equipment. 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 »
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!
31 of 37 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this