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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

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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

The famous scene in which Jim (John Gilbert) teaches Melisande (Renée Adorée) to chew gum was improvised on the spot during filming. Director King Vidor observed a crew member chewing gum and later recalled, "Here was my inspiration. French girls didn't chew or understand gum; American doughboys did...Gilbert's efforts to explain would endear him to her and she would kiss him...[It was] one of the best love scenes I ever directed." Gilbert also claimed that neither he nor Vidor expected Adorée to swallow the gum, which proved to be the scene's comic highlight. 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

Slim: Say, I joined the army to fight... not shovel!
James Apperson: You'll shovel and like it, dearie!
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

Spoofed in The Bug Parade (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Classic silent film
4 June 2004 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

Movie takes place during WWI in 1917. Jim Apperson (John Gilbert) is an idle son of a rich man. He enlists in the Army when WWI begins leaving behind a loving girlfriend. He becomes buddies with Slim (Karl Dane) and Bull (Tom O'Brien). They go to France where he falls in love with Melisande (Renee Adoree). But then he has to go off to combat. Will he survive and come back to her? And how about his girlfriend back home?

The plot is somewhat predictable (I knew how it was going to end halfway through) but this is still a GREAT film! The first half deals with Jim, Slim and Bull in a small town in France where they meet Melisande. It's chock full of some very unfunny humor and juvenile antics between the soldiers--but the romance between Jim and Melisande really works. There's some truly beautiful moments with them--especially a nighttime scene by a lake. And the sequence where he says goodbye to her is truly touching.

The second half deals with Jim and his buddies in combat. The war footage is strong and (for 1925) pretty graphic. It shows the pain and agony of war quite graphically--but Gilbert's little speech in the foxhole is a bit much (and Gilbert overdoes it). It all does lead up to a happy ending which I liked...but didn't buy for a minute.

This is all helped along by a beautiful music score done in 1988. It really helps the move tremendously. The direction by King Vidor was astonishing--the battle sequences are exciting (and harrowing) and the romantic scenes work equally well. Gilbert is pretty good in the lead--it's easy to see why he was such a big star. Adoree is just gorgeous and makes a very beautiful heroine. Dane is just VERY annoying as Slim. He overacts constantly and he's the (un)funny comic relief--but he does turn noble at the end. O'Brien is pretty good also.

This was a HUGE hit in its day...but is completely forgotten today. That's too bad--it's truly a great film. A must see!


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