The Big Parade


Action / Drama / Romance / War


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2hr 20 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by M-G-M 10 / 10

One of the Finest Movies of Its Own or Any Other Era

The Big Parade is one of those films that left profound impact on me after single viewing. This focus on John Gilbert's character, Jim, whose experienced a major changes in his life, which has dire consquences and good results. It is easy why John Gilbert became superstar after this film because he's terrific actor, whose can commanded such a expression with his face. It is very seldom to see the actor like that one. Karl Dane did great job by providing comedy relief as Slim. Tom O'Brien did really fantastic job as Bull, a bartender, who keep in balance with John Gilbert.

I cannot think of single film that is perfect translated in 3 acts and The Big Parade is great example of that one. The 3 acts in The Big Parade represented significant changes in Gilbert's life. Some may disliked comedy relief but that was intend for making us caring more for the characters, which works for me.

Many films are lucky to have one great sequence. The Big Parade are being linked by series of magnificent sequences, which is rarity. Renee Adoree did great job by portraying Melisande, the French girl who had fell in love with Gilbert. Look for that moment between them when Gilbert had to leave for mission. Such a heartbreaking moment in cinema history. I was very sad at that moment.

Gilbert, had Academy Awards existed, would have probably won an Academy Award for best actor because it's one of the great performance I've ever seen. King Vidor did really great job directing this outstanding film. It is very seldom that silent cinema can move me as much as sounds does. I hope I can watch it again in future because it's truly fantastic film in its own rights.


Reviewed by David Lane 10 / 10

Outstanding Silent Film

This is one of the best silent movies ever made, and probably the best WWI movie ever made, silent or sound. It's one of the greatest movies I have seen to show how war can turn one man's world upside down, yet not necessarily in a completely negative way as have other films. The direction is superb. The acting is wonderful. In particular, Renee Adoree's character is adorable as the French heroine. In one of the movie's most romantic scenes (and a much parodied one), Renee's character anxiously finds Gilbert, who is in the process of moving on to battle. When they unite, the two almost can't be seperated, even as the cars are moving. It's one of the most emotional scenes ever.

Then there are the battle scenes, which are stellar. The character development is wonderful, as lazy, rich boy Jim joins the war only to please his friends and fiancee. Then, he finds out what war is all about, as well as true love. "Slim" makes a nice comedic supporting character, who again is finally seen in a different light in the face of battle.

One thing I should note, is that the version of this film I saw is the one scored by Carl Davis. I also heard his score for "the Lodger" and thought it was distracting if anything. But this score is an example of the perfect silent score. It actually shows the maximum "potential" of the film. It's always appropriate, is molded to every scene, takes advantage of a modern orchestra while still preserving several stylistic nuances of older films. Kudos to Mr. Davis for a fine score.

Finally, why wasn't there room for this on AFI's 100 list? It's certainly better than "the Jazz Singer" or "Easy Rider", and probably a ton of others on the list. Part of the problem, I realize is that so few people have seen this. There's only about 150 votes so far on this site. This masterpiece should be seen at least once by any serious film lover. A perfect 10!

Reviewed by preppy-3 10 / 10

Classic silent film

Movie takes place during WWI in 1917. Jim Apperson (John Gilbert) is an idle son of a rich man. He enlists in the Army when WWI begins leaving behind a loving girlfriend. He becomes buddies with Slim (Karl Dane) and Bull (Tom O'Brien). They go to France where he falls in love with Melisande (Renee Adoree). But then he has to go off to combat. Will he survive and come back to her? And how about his girlfriend back home?

The plot is somewhat predictable (I knew how it was going to end halfway through) but this is still a GREAT film! The first half deals with Jim, Slim and Bull in a small town in France where they meet Melisande. It's chock full of some very unfunny humor and juvenile antics between the soldiers--but the romance between Jim and Melisande really works. There's some truly beautiful moments with them--especially a nighttime scene by a lake. And the sequence where he says goodbye to her is truly touching.

The second half deals with Jim and his buddies in combat. The war footage is strong and (for 1925) pretty graphic. It shows the pain and agony of war quite graphically--but Gilbert's little speech in the foxhole is a bit much (and Gilbert overdoes it). It all does lead up to a happy ending which I liked...but didn't buy for a minute.

This is all helped along by a beautiful music score done in 1988. It really helps the move tremendously. The direction by King Vidor was astonishing--the battle sequences are exciting (and harrowing) and the romantic scenes work equally well. Gilbert is pretty good in the lead--it's easy to see why he was such a big star. Adoree is just gorgeous and makes a very beautiful heroine. Dane is just VERY annoying as Slim. He overacts constantly and he's the (un)funny comic relief--but he does turn noble at the end. O'Brien is pretty good also.

This was a HUGE hit in its day...but is completely forgotten today. That's too bad--it's truly a great film. A must see!

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