The English experience, from 1899 until 1933, seen through the eyes of an upper-middle class family, the Marryots. We also, to an extent, see the world from the eyes of a working class family, the Bridges. Events covered include the Second Anglo-Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic, World War 1 and its aftermath.
Interesting, from an historical perspective and how the average Englishperson perceived these events and was caught up in them. Quite dry though - the degree of engagement is quite limited and it feels more like a series of historic events unfolding than characters whom we have any attachment to being involved in them.
However, the lack of engagement in the middle section is made up for by a an emotional and powerful ending which brings everything together.
Won the Best Picture Oscar in 1934 (plus Best Director for Frank Lloyd and Best Art Direction).
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.
I have heard the claim that it is slightly formulaic. One grand tragic event after another, showcasing some kind of constant (character) throughout, dealing & learning to live with the ramifications. I understand the criticism, & it has merit. The compounding of tragedies gets to be much (I thought the Joey thing was completely unnecessary). But that's reductionistic. I could say that about every film that portrays an extensive time period. The alternative being to only make movies that are in real time, where everything happens in 2 hours?
In regard to the war, it wasn't pro & it wasn't anti. It was honest. I appreciated that. The whole film is sort of an affront to modernism during the Depression era. A cry for hope.
The only real qualm is that it was difficult to follow because of exceedingly poor video quality, & very strong accents speaking very quickly . A little too obvious foreshadowing on the Titanic.
Overall, a spectacular achievement. At its core, it's a wonderful love story.
*(There was a dance sequence called 'Take me Back to Yorkshire' that I believe was the origination of break-dancing)
* Not sure why he's missing his mustache on the cover.
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, but...it 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.