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The Big Parade (1925)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, War | 1926 (Austria)
A young American soldier witnesses the horrors of the Great War.

Directors:

King Vidor, George W. Hill (uncredited)

Writers:

Laurence Stallings (story), Harry Behn (scenario) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Gilbert ... James Apperson
Renée Adorée ... Melisande (as Renee Adoree)
Hobart Bosworth ... Mr. Apperson
Claire McDowell ... Mrs. Apperson
Claire Adams ... Justyn Reed
Robert Ober ... Harry
Tom O'Brien Tom O'Brien ... Bull
Karl Dane ... Slim
Rosita Marstini ... French Mother
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Storyline

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 <apps@math.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Laurence Stallings' great motion picture story following his stage success with "What Price Glory" See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

1926 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Parade des Todes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$245,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,000,000, 31 December 1985
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (1988 TCM print) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Silent | Mono (music and sound effects) (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (with tinted sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Is the highest grossing silent film of all time, making $22 million during its worldwide release See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Doughboy: The skipper says for one of you guys to go get that Fritzie with the toy cannon.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gratefully acknowledges the splendid co-operation of the Second Division, United States Army and Air Service Units, Kelly Field. See more »

Connections

Featured in Block-Heads (1938) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
As each 'Big Parade' passes, it becomes increasingly more hollow
27 November 2016 | by kijiiSee all my reviews

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 cards—the 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.


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