Born on the fourth of July, 1900, the future holds unlimited potential for newborn John Sims. But dreams soon fade with the death of his father when John is but a lad. Like many before him, John sets out to make his mark in New York City, but ends up a faceless worker (#137) in a large office of a large business. Still he is happy with his fate and soon meets a young woman named Mary on a blind double date. Things take their course and they soon marry and live in a small apartment. Soon John is bickering with Mary and finds that he has no love for the in-laws. When the marriage looks like a bust, he finds that Mary is with child and he stays. After 5 years, he has a son and a daughter and the same dead end job. When tragedy strikes, John must find the conviction to continue or lose what little he has left.Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Perhaps in your own home this problem exists. the husband who starts with promise of greatness...beaten down in the struggle of life...the wife who tries to lift him from the crowd. Here is the true story of the millions of average men and women, told as only the director of 'The Big Parade' could tell it. (Print Ad- Granby Leader-Mail, ((Granby, PQ)) 25 May 1928) See more »
Several years after the film was made, alcoholism had taken its toll on lead actor James Murray, who was reduced to panhandling in the street. Ironically, one of the passers-by he solicited for money turned out to be King Vidor, who offered him a part in the film's semi-sequel, Our Daily Bread (1934). Murray declined the offer, thinking it was only made out of pity. He died in 1936 at the age of 35 in a drowning incident. Vidor was sufficiently compelled to write his life story as an unrealized screenplay, which he called "The Actor". See more »
In the sequences with John and his son on the bridge over the railroad tracks, for most of the scene they are on one bridge with no overhead trusses and arched sides. Then in the last shot they are on a completely different bridge with overhead trusses and straight sides. See more »
Look at that crowd! The poor boobs... all in the same rut!
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MGM forced director King Vidor to film seven different endings to the film, giving exhibitors the chance to pick a happy or sad one as they pleased. Not a single exhibitor chose to use a happy ending. See more »
Restored with a very nice score,"the crowd" hasn't aged a bit.The topic is as relevant today as it was in 1928.Do have a look at the first pictures of "the apartment" (1960) or the last ones of "working girl"(1988)and you'll know what I mean. John Sims tries to beat the crowd,this crowd that follows him everywhere,at work,in the streets,at the fair or on the beach.He doesn't even realize his condition :you should see him laughing at the people on the street,behaving like sheep.It's always someone else,his wife says,take a look at yourself.
The secondary characters are wonderfully depicted:the well-padded buddy,the mother and brothers-in-law always contemptuous,always putting John down.Lots of sequences are memorable,now comic,now tragic:the tiny flat where even the bed must be folded,the huge office where employees are doing the same job at the same time,where everybody acts alike when they leave their job,like some kind of ballet.
John Sims is the embodiment of the American dream,but it has an universal appeal.When he was born,his father promised he would have good prospects,he would become someone big.King Vidor does not show the relationship father/son cause the father disappears when John is still a boy,but we can easily imagine it.So Sims thought NY was depending on him,and he discovers that he will be a wash-out all his life.If it weren't for his little boy who still believes in him(Vittorio de Sica will remember it for his "bicycle thief",he would throw himself under a train.
The cinematography is prodigious;two examples : The father is dead, the boy is climbing a stair : stunning high angle shot,enhancing his awful pain. On the contrary,the skyscrapers are filmed from below,showing how lost a human being can feel in this steel and glass world .
A detail :the hysterical/historical joke at the fair will be used again by the Beatles themselves in their "magical mystery tour" home-made movie.
1928:the silent era was coming to an end but we had not heard the last of it.
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