The Big Parade Reviews
July 27, 2012
King Vidor's "The Big Parade" is the biggest blockbuster from the silent era, and became the gold standard to which all others were compared well into the 1930s.
The story focuses on three American doughboys, fighting in Europe during WWI. Two are working class; a tobacco spitting riveter, Slim, a barkeep, Bull, and a ne'er-do-well son of wealth, Jim, who was shamed into enlisting by his family. These three go through the hardships of military training together, bond, and become fast friends. Their friendships deepen after they are shipped to France where Jim falls in love with a French farm girl. This comprises the first half of the 2 1/2 hour movie. The second half of the movie is the gritty reality of trench warfare.
Some say that this is one of the first big-budget anti-war movies. I'd take issue with that, but the film does show the human cost of war without condemning it outright. Remember that WWI was 'the war to end all wars', and in 1925 this was still a possibility. But "The Big Parade" does take an unflinching look at the affect of war on both combatants and non-combatants.
The performances and direction are excellent and silent or not, this is a movie well worth seeing.
May 7, 2008
it seems i watched nothing but silent films this week but this was among the best i have ever seen. king vidor's meditation on a young man's coming of age in the first world war holds up marvelously well. the first half is funny and romantic, with a good performance by john gilbert sans mustache. the scene where he takes leave of his french sweetheart had me laughing and crying simultaneously, not an experience i remember having before. the second half features some of the most poetic (anti) war footage ever filmed. i wonder what happened to vidor, such a master of the silents, whose career was never more than mediocre in the sound era. like 'the crowd' this is still not on dvd but absolutely worth seeking out. it turns up on tcm now and again. what a shame about that poster :(
January 10, 2011
Quite liked it. The first half was better than the latter. It didn't feel as messy as most silents do. I was also impressed at how realistic it was. Especially for it's time.
December 16, 2013
Beautifully shot and acted. The story has unfortunately become the archetypical blueprint for most war movies, so it doesn't seem very innovative now although of course at the time it was made it must have been a huge breakthrough. The influence can be seen all the way down to Saving Private Ryan with scenes of the French countryside from both movies. The battle scene also looks average now, but in 1925 it must have been as technologically innovative as Avatar recently seemed to (most of) us. Its war scenes definitely influenced many war movies that came after it. It's also a interesting cultural relic to see how Americans viewed themselves and the recent World War generally.
September 8, 2010
Highly ambitious, but I wasn't that interested in the first hour and 15 minutes. Then the war started, and HOLY CRAP. Love story: pedestrian. Buddy story: would've been better if Slim weren't so weird to look at and retarded-looking (yeah, I said retarded. Eat a dick.) But that battle scene is good times.
September 9, 2008
The movie is very good at explaining the war from a political-less POV. The first hour and fifteen mintues of the movie is very funny as well, but the last hour is a bit boring and underwhelming.
May 9, 2013
Thursday, May 9, 2013
(1925) The Big Parade
SILENT ROMANTIC DRAMA/ WAR/ COMEDY
Influential film casting thousands of extras of a war, setting up an ambitious love story between a rookie soldier and a French girl. The time is during WW I when France were fighting against the Germans which Hitler wasn't in power yet which to me serves nothing but a backdrop to this love story that evolved upon the main star residing camp in some French countryside. It's called "The Big Parade" because there's a parade when the soldiers go off to war and then another parade upon the soldiers coming back. Some of the nuances work while others don't. I said that the film was influential because they're some existing scenes are identically similar to what one can often find in David Lean movies as well as other war movies that include love couples departing to go to war, particularly the part when the French girl tries to find her love interest off just to see him for the very last time while many soldiers are marching past her. I've only seen the 2 hour version from "Turner Classic Movies" channel which the original running time was supposed to be 2 hours and 20 minutes and felt that near the end was cut a little too short.
For the time being I'm giving this
3 out of 4 stars
March 18, 2011
**** (out of four)
A wonderfully shot silent film that shows the devastation and horrors of war even better than most modern day war epics.
John Gilbert stars as the son of a wealthy elitist. He joins the army and goes into World War I. He is sent to France where he falls for a frenchwoman while also becoming friends with two working-class soldiers.
The battle scenes are spectacularly done and the emotions are overpowering.
August 27, 2010
The epitome of the perfect war movie; timeless and affecting.
July 8, 2010
Well exceeded the expectations I set for the movie initially. I first thought it would be a romanticized and overly-sentimental look at war romance, but it ended up being stronger and better than that. True, it was a bit melodramatic at times, but the romance was felt dead-on and the war aspect wasn't shortchanged: it was really horrible to watch as men fell randomly about the field. John Gilbert is an actor I was unfamiliar with, but he was nothing short of brilliant here, as the slacker son who is pushed into a war he would have rather just ignored. I found the most powerful moment to be Gilbert in the bunker with a dying German soldier, who he offers a cigarette in the realization that all this fighting is between human beings, with the same hopes and fears. It's common theme in so many films, but it is drawn so well in this moment that I couldn't help but tear up at the revelation. I found it ironic at the end that Gilbert's brother had cheated with his girlfriend, reduces himself to the true lowlife of the family now. And the film closes in a cliche, but still poignant, meeting-in-the middle scene with his lover. It's a beautifully directed Hollywood classic.
December 9, 2004
So, I'm here, writing from the PC of my new, I don't know, girfriend? Maybe... Not many movies seen lately, only the wondereful masterpiece from 1925: King Vidor's "The Big Parade", one of the best war movies ever made. Ok, this entry was only to show her that I'm so important that I have a personal page in this Vine. I enjoy reading your entries people, so I say good by to you, and a very happy Hannuka! :D