Cavalcade - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Cavalcade Reviews

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½ March 8, 2017
Cavalcade is a film that looks at 2 British families and how the events of history affect them. It starts right at the celebration of New Year's Eve in 1899, and then shows how the next 33 years change their lives. It feels a bit like a play because a lot of the major events take place off camera and are simply talked about in the homes of the main characters. However it includes some great montages that keep us informed of the exact events that are going on. They did a relatively good job of building characters and showing growth and change despite the fact that time was passing by so quickly. As can happen with any movie of this style, there are a few stops along the way that feel forced or overly coincidental. In order to make sure we hit on all the significant events, they have to insure that those events somehow connect to these characters. I never thought it was tedious or blatant, but there were moments where I could sense someone manipulating the plot instead of allowing it to have a logical narrative flow. Cavalcade is a film of its time, and it probably had some heavy emotional impact back in 1933 when it was made because all of these events were fresh in people's minds. For me it wasn't a great film, but I did enjoy the stylistic look at history, and I thought they worked in enough character building to make it engaging.
February 20, 2016
Interesting chronology of early-1900s English history and life.

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).
½ May 7, 2015
The weakest "Best Picture" Oscar ever, it's overwrought, overstuffed and overacted. But historic, grand, and of its time.
March 16, 2015
It's like "Boyhood" in that it tries to show the development of characters and the world around them over a long stretch of time, but unlike the former, "Cavalcade" does nothing to invest us in the characters and their world. It's a series of mostly unconnected events with little in the way of themes or atmosphere. Some of the performances are good, such as Merle Tottenham as a woman who laughs at others' misfortune, but it's mainly a pretty boring film.
½ July 29, 2014
(First and only viewing - 2/10/2011)
½ 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.
½ 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.
February 2, 2014
good pre-code talkie and the only oscar winner for the Fox studios (pre-20th century fox days)
½ 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.
September 2, 2013
Best movie of 1933? It undoubtedly highlighted the important events to the Britain in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but the approach taken is highly superficial and felt like sticking the bunch of events together with an utterly incoherent plot and characters. After the movie, you can just recall there were once events like that, but nothing else.
May 20, 2013
Basically, to England what Cimarron was to the old West. The Academy ate this kind of film up. A decades-spanning look at the changes of life in a particular society. However, unlike Cimarron, this doesn't display a hint of moral self-importance. It seems far more sprawling than it actually is. It feels like a 3-hour epic, but it's actually not long at all. Shorter even than Cimarron. And the characters are far more interesting. Strong performances. Somewhat melodramatic, but that's okay, because the drama is compelling. It's almost a precursor to Downton Abbey, in some ways. The film itself is fascinating as a historical relic. A moment, frozen in time. History is not so remotely distant after all.

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.
½ 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.
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.
Super Reviewer
December 11, 2012
I plan on seeing every film that won the Oscar for best picture
½ 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.
½ September 27, 2012
An admirably ambitious project that unfortunately doesn't stand the test of time. The concept is intriguing - following a family through the major events that shaped 20th century Britain. However, the dialogue simply is not strong, and the acting reads unfortunately melodramatic today (even when compared to other films of its time period). Still, it has its moments and provides interesting insight into British history and attitudes in the 30's.
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