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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
Learn more

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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:

"THE GREATEST HUMAN DOCUMENT THE SILVER SHEET HAS EVER FLASHED..." (Print Ad-Altus Times-Democrat, ((Altus, Okla.)) 16 September 1927) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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

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 »

Quotes

Slim: Gimme a cigarette, Bull.
Bull: I don't mind givin' you cigarettes... but I hate carryin' 'em all 'round France for you.
Slim: Gimme a match.
Bull: What am I... Santy Claus?
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

Edited into Hollywood: The Dream Factory (1972) See more »

User Reviews

One of the Finest Movies of Its Own or Any Other Era
18 October 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

A fine silent classic that has held up very well, "The Big Parade" is one of the very best films of its era and of its genre. It has a nice blend of drama, action, and lighter moments, with plenty of good photography and settings. The characters are simple, believable, and unpretentious, and they are brought to life well by the cast. Its commentary on the war is to the point, yet in a thoughtful way, without the heavy-handed cinematic ranting that mars so many films about war.

The early scenes work very well in introducing some of the characters and themes. Its portrayal of the USA's entry into the war is intelligently done, while holding nothing back in its perspective. By not assigning blame or responsibility to any specific persons or countries, it enhances its portrayal of the kind of mentality that so often prevails in such situations. It is a believable, and sometimes subtle, sequence that works quite well.

Once the movie gets into the main story, it uses the "parade" imagery well, and combines it effectively with the personal development of the characters.

John Gilbert and Renée Adorée work quite well together, and Gilbert's army pals are both used effectively. There are quite a few memorable scenes as it depicts a full variety of wartime experiences. The lighter sequences are used particularly well, not as raucous humor but as moments of the more sensitive side of human nature that is still there somewhere amidst all of the turmoil.

There's much more that could be said about such an absorbing film, but watching the movie is more rewarding than reading about it. It's neither an action-heavy war film nor a superficial, easily understood movie contrived to prove a particular point; it's something much better that fully repays careful attention and appreciation.


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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

1926 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

The Big Parade See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$245,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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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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