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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:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(story), (scenario) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
3 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Melisande (as Renee Adoree)
Hobart Bosworth ...
...
...
Robert Ober ...
Tom O'Brien ...
...
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:

King Vidor's PICTURIZATION of LAURENCE STALLINGS' GREAT STORY See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

1926 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Die Parade des Todes  »

Box Office

Budget:

$245,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

(with tinted sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Four years after making this film, King Vidor re-staged one of its most famous scenes--Jimmy going off to battle and leaving Melisande behind--in Show People (1928), a comedy starring Marion Davies as an actress trying to become a Hollywood star. In "Show People" Davies and William Haines played the parts originally played in "The Big Parade" by Renée Adorée and John Gilbert. See more »

Goofs

The soldiers march past eucalyptus trees during the Belleau Wood sequence. Native to Australia, eucalyptus trees are not found in that region of France. They can, however, be found in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, where the sequence was shot. See more »

Quotes

James Apperson: [to Melisande, who speaks French] French is Greek to me.
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 The Young and the Dead (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the Finest Movies of Its Own or Any Other Era
18 October 2004 | by (Ohio) – See 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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