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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)
...
...
...
...
Harry
Tom O'Brien ...
...
...
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  »

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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:

 »
Show more 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

Danish title:"Den store Parade". See more »

Goofs

In the recruitment parade scene, several women are wearing drop-waisted dresses with hems that end well above the ankle. This is appropriate for the year of production, 1925, but quite anachronistic for the time in which the scene is ostensibly set, 1917. See more »

Quotes

Bull: You big stiff! You don't handle girls the way you handle rivets!
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 Twenty Years After (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

 
As each 'Big Parade' passes, it becomes increasingly more hollow
27 November 2016 | by See all my reviews

This movie traces three men from the same American town. The men are from different social and economic backgrounds. Jim (John Gilbert) is the rich son of a mill owner, 'Bull' (Tom O'Brian) is a bartender, and Slim (Darl Dane) is a riveter in construction work. When America joins the Great War in Europe all three enlist. As usual in movies of this type, there is a patriotic fervor in the town at the time that they join up. Jim's girl, Justyn (Claire Adams), is one of the first to assume that Jim will enlist and make her proud. This is the first use of the term, 'The Big Parade' on the movie's title cards—the big parade of patriotic people sending boys off to war. For the first 75 minutes of the movie, we get to really KNOW these three lovable and fun-loving guys, long before they actually go into any battle situations in Europe.

While in a French village waiting for a battle, Jim meets a villager, Melisande (Renee Adoree). The movie spends time with Jim and Melisande as they try to communicate with each other in two different languages and have lots of fun and laughs together. When Jim and his buddies are actually called into action, Jim promises Melisande that he will be back. The long convoys of trucks and marching soldiers advancing into battle is the second use of 'The Big Parade' on the movie's title cards.

The battle scenes are very well done showing bombing, large guns, mustard gas, aerial attacks, and hand-to hand combat. Much of the time, the three soldiers are in trenches or in bomb holes. When the commander orders one of them to clean out an enemy stronghold, the question is which one will be 'IT.' Slim sets up a spitting contest to determine which of the three will go. Slim easily wins--which means that he will go. When he doesn't return, his two friends become very anxious about him. Slim dies.

Bull later dies in another assault. Jim gets hurt in the leg and is sent to an army hospital in another 'Big Parade' sequence. While in the hospital, he finds out that it is near the village where he left Melisande. In a search of her, he only finds a deserted house in the bombed out village. He is again wounded and sent home. Of course, his homecoming is another 'Big Parade.' However, after the term is used several times on the movie's title cards, it becomes increasingly more hollow and sarcastic.

After seeing this movie and Vidor's The Crowd (1928), I am convinced that he was one of the really great SILENT directors! His movies stress beautiful images and bustling action rather than broad acting gestures. They are both playful and sad; the are replete with a realism that conveys genuine emotion.

As one watches these movies, they don't seem contrived; they seem to be about REAL PEOPLE living real lives. Vidor's magic seems to be in the WAY he captures people and events without the use of sound. At least in these two movies, he is not afraid to let the story unfold naturally. These movies seem as fresh today as they were when they were first released.


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