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Four Sons (1928)

A family saga in which three of a Bavarian widow's sons go to war for Germany and the fourth goes to America, Germany's eventual opponent.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Philip Klein (adapted by), I.A.R. Wylie (story) (as Miss I.A.R. Wylie)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Margaret Mann ... Mother Bernle
James Hall ... Joseph - Her Son
Charles Morton ... Johann - Her Son
Francis X. Bushman Jr. ... Franz - Her Son
George Meeker ... Andreas - Her Son
June Collyer ... Annabelle
Earle Foxe ... Major von Stomm
Albert Gran ... The Postman
Frank Reicher ... The Schoolmaster
Archduke Leopold of Austria Archduke Leopold of Austria ... A Captain
Ferdinand Schumann-Heink Ferdinand Schumann-Heink ... A Staff Sergeant
Jack Pennick Jack Pennick ... The Iceman
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Storyline

In Burgendorf, Bavaria, Mother Bernle has four sons. Franz is in the army, Johann works at the forge, Andreas tends the sheep. Joseph is riding a hay wagon with a pretty girl when some of the hay falls off, landing on the fearsome Maj. Von Stomm. Joseph gets a slap from the major... The jovial postman has brought a letter from America. Joseph has the offer of a job in the States. But getting there is so expensive... It's Mother Bernle's birthday and most of the town gathers for the dancing. Mother gives Joseph the money she has secreted away. He leaves for the USA... It is "Der Tag", The Day when war is declared. Franz and Johann are excited about their new uniforms. But America is still neutral. Joseph runs the German-American Delicatessen with his new wife Annabelle. The reports of the first German battles with the Russians are good. So why does the postman carry a black-edged letter for Mother Bernle? When America does enter the war, Joseph enlists and meets his friend, the iceman ... Written by David Steele

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BIG AS THE HEART OF HUMANITY! (original print ad - all caps)

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 February 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cuatro hijos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Movietone) (musical score and sound effects)| Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There is a town called Burgendorf in Saxony but not in Bavaria. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where the mother is feeding the little girls in front of the house it is raining, even though the sun is shining bright, an obvious use of the studios rain machine. See more »

Quotes

Von Stomm's Orderly: [Giving the Major a luger to commit suicide. It is apparent to the Major that a worse fate awaits him if he doesn't] A parting gift from the regiment, Herr colonel - to speed you to a better world. Shall we say - in ten minutes?
[He closes the door slowly, leaving the Major alone with a leering smile on his face]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Five Came Back: The Mission Begins (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Over There
(1917) (uncredited)
Written by George M. Cohan
Played When America enters the war
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Moderately effective soaper
4 October 1999 | by mgmaxSee all my reviews

A huge, huge hit in 1928 and the winner of the Photoplay Medal of Honor (a fan-chosen award that was very big then), this soap opera actually offers little that you wouldn't have seen in an earlier and more powerful hit, The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. (Except the village sets-- you saw those in Sunrise.) It's a similar saga about a family whose members wind up on opposite sides of the big war (WWI); only after the war ends does the story take a new direction, when the mother comes to America to visit the son who moved there. These scenes, though somewhat manipulative (the mom gets lost at Ellis Island and winds up on a subway car in the city-- a neat trick if it didn't involve ever being on a boat), are the most moving parts of the movie.


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