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Cavalcade Reviews

Page 1 of 3

Super Reviewer

February 9, 2011
Panarama of a family over many years is not a bad film but certainly not deserving of a Best Picture Oscar.

Super Reviewer

September 3, 2010
Boring! If they wanted to tell the audience what life was like at the beginning of the 20th century without an entertaining story, they should have made a documentary.
John B

Super Reviewer

October 30, 2007
The version that I assume is the best copy available was so poorly preserved and takes the viewer out of the story. I never got into it.

Super Reviewer

August 10, 2011
Almost no one remembers the film today. Still, it's noteworthy to be reminded that sometimes, yesterday's news is worth looking at again.

Cavalcade tells the "Upstairs/Downstairs"-style story of two British families across the years from December 31, 1899 to December 31, 1932. The "Upstairs" clan members are the Marryots: father Sir Robert (Clive Brook), mother Lady Jane (Diana Wynyard), and sons Edward (John Warburton) and Joe (Frank Lawton). The "Downstairs" family consists of manservant Alfred Bridges (Herbert Mundin), his wife, maid Ellen (Una O'Connor), and their daughter, Fanny (Ursula Jeans). It is a tale of joy and woe, chiefly concerned with the experiences of Robert Marryot and his wife, Jane, and embracing what happens to their children and their servants.

As the movie opens, both Robert and Alfred are preparing to fight in the Second Boer war. Both distinguish themselves in combat. Upon their return, Robert is knighted and Alfred is able to leave service and set himself up as the owner and operator of a London pub.

Albeit there are simply too many characters to keep track, yet just give a film a chance by watching it more than once is the way to go. And while there's a certain reactionary quality to some of the film's material, the movie's overriding thrust is very effectively anti-war.

The story is more concerned with the potential of death than it is with actual tragedy - how those left behind live in a constant state of anxiety, never knowing if their loved one is going to appear on a casualty list. (One of the most moving scenes occurs when Jane and Ellen go to a central location to read the names of the latest dead and wounded soldiers.) The movie also touches upon the common theme of how wasteful and irrational war is - it is referred to as a way for men to earn their stripes and for nations to flex their muscles.

Inasmuch as modern audiences have often found the film stilted and overacted, one critic reckons that when seen today, Cavalcade is best viewed from a historical perspective.
Lord Naseby
Lord Naseby

Super Reviewer

December 16, 2009
well, I can say that I certainly appreciate the history behind it. I liked all of the historical events that it covered. however it had few merits beyond that. the acting in it wasn't that great and the screenplay was sub par. it was one of those eeeh films. not really bad but not good either. If I had to choose I would have given Best Picture to I am A Fugitive from a Chain Gang. that film was way better than this one. yeah, this film was only okay. nothing special and certainly not deserving of Best Picture.

Super Reviewer

December 29, 2007
A favorite.
January 24, 2010
From 1899 and issuing in the new year/millennium to 1932 and issuing in the new year this film covers a historical time period through the eyes of one family. It couples the past with the future and shows how England progressed through those three decades from the war with the Boers to the Titanic to World War I. A remarkable look on how England changed from the top of the world filled with grace, dignity, and peace to the country it is more like today. Excellent photography, editing, and direction make this an enjoyable and well done best picture. The scene especially where England is going off to war in WWI is amazing as each year that passes the same filming location gets more and more destroyed and the screen gets darker and darker and darker. Heartache, sorrow, and pain are shown as is happiness, joy, and love and the film captures all the aspects of normal life through the course of three decades. An amazing film which captures the essence of humanity in a very well done manner.
May 1, 2010
Eh...not bad I guess. The ending there kinda reminded me of Mi Familia a little bit. Kinda sucks losing your kids in the manner that they lost theirs. Fate really hated this couple, it seems.
December 23, 2009
Cavalcade is an epic film about a family in London. The film starts in 1899 and ends in 1933. It covers some historical events like the Second Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the Titanic, and World War 1.

This film won a few Oscars including best picture. It was a decent film and had some reasonably interesting characters. There was nothing overly-spectacular about it but at least it was good enough to keep my interest for the duration.

Connor G.
May 23, 2014
If it had spent more time on any of the time periods displayed, it could have been very solid, but no attachments were made to any character, and it felt really difficult to care.
May 3, 2014
This is a poor mans forrest gump, showcasing a series of big historical events from the turn of the century in england in the most straightforward way possible. Its almost like a documentary at some parts where actors are barley needed.
April 19, 2014
Simply will not translate well to today.
December 1, 2013
It starts really promising, losing its grip throughout the story. It tries to convey much too large a period of time for its own narrative capacity, making some major events in its timeline seem irrelevant.

Despite its mawkishness and lack of solidity, it's still pretty watchable.

PS: Diana Wynyard doesn't seem to believe her part. Her acting distunes from the otherwise excellent cast.
November 28, 2013
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
May 16, 2013
Okay so back to the older winners, this one I had trouble finding online or at the library, but luckily my brother had a VHS copy. How did he do that? genuine idea.

Plot: The film revolves around a an upper-class British family, the Marryots and their servants, the Bridges. Between 1901 and 1933, we take a look at what they all go through during many historical events around that time.

Honestly, this movie was just meh. I mean the acting was good for what it was worth, just didn't age well. There's all this death, life and love from all of these characters while Britain it self goes through things like the Second Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic, and World War One. And honestly, it's not all that particularly interesting. It's not to say that it was completely boring or anything like that - the acting was good for what it was, and there are some characters you actually care about a tiny bit - but the characters are a little too simple and the story is very loose when it comes to bringing these historical events into the story and having anything to do with the characters. Most of the events like Queen Victoria's death or the sinking of the Titanic are close to never really brought in. Thinking more about it, I guess all that made sense back in 1933 where all these events are something everybody knew back then, but some of these things were over 100 years ago or less. And some of us might not be familiar with or have even learned some events from school or something like that. I mean I've learned a lot of things in school over the years but I never knew there was a Second Boer War, or even a first for that matter. I wish I knew more, because they bring it up so bluntly that we don't even know which war it was. All the characters say is "We're going to war!" and "we won" and that's almost all of what they gave us with that.

And that's my review for Cavalcade. I don't doubt that it was a great movie to have back in its time, but it has aged to be a film that has characters that are too simple and are often not all that interesting, and lacks real effort in bringing the characters and the historical even together very well. It has its little nice moments, but is otherwise not the greatest among the best picture winners.
Kevin L.
January 5, 2013
A cavalcade of English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot. Amongst events touching their family are the Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic and the Great War.
November 9, 2012
This is a forgotten Oscar winner and, yes, of course it didn't age well, but we can't ignore Diana Wynyard fine performance, the solid art direction work and that amazing final sequence.
October 10, 2012
A cavalcade of English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot. Amongst events touching their family are the Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic and the Great War.
September 30, 2012
Yeah, I just didn't care.
September 26, 2012
It is definitely too sentimental at times and some scenes are overly extended, but Cavalcade is a delightful and passionate drama with some solid acting and with wonderful story of happiness, losses and victories through a lifetime told beautifully by a mother and a wife.
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