Friday, August 14, 2015

Film Society-The Answer is.....

It's that time again where Mock and The Armchair Squid present films that we have picked for this month. Last week I gave 3 clues and this is the film.....


THE BIG PARADE-1925


Director-King Vidor

Stars-John Gilbert, Renee Adoree, Karl Dane, Tom O'Brien, Hobart Bosworth, Claire McDowell

This is considered one of the biggest blockbusters ($18 to $22 million world wide in 1920's dollars) of its time. It is also one of the first to depict war in more realistic terms which is often quite funny. One hears the army music and reads the words on the screen and one realizes how boring some of the days were spent and the crap they had to put up with. The first half of the film showcases this along with the hero of the story, played by John Gilbert, falling in love with a peasant French girl portrayed by Renee Adoree. The second half of the film shows the horrible dangers these men had to face which is death and destruction.

To see the young protagonist being a young, spoiled lazy oaf at the beginning of the film where his mom coddles him and his dad derides him can be related to today's kids. The happiness the people show as well as the men who volunteer to fight, does not prepare any of them for what is to follow. Only a mom truly knows the fear but she must let her son go and fight. He meets and befriends 2 other men from the working class and they form a strong bond. When they are in France, Gilbert's character meets the French lass and even shows her gum and how to chew it. I guess France did not know about gum until the First World War when the soldiers came. Eventually, they must depart to the front but not before Gilbert's character tells the maiden he will return.

My favourite scene (small spoiler alert) is when the hero returns home and his mom first lays eyes on him recalling when he was first born, his first steps, his first fall, and then seeing him before her, makes me cry every time.

Now most people are not into silent films which is a shame. I had to watch it in the morning because my hubby dislikes silent films because he won't give them a try. This is sad to me because silent films are one of my favourites. There were no CGI effects back then so what you see is exactly done. At that time, the industry developed enough where they could shoot outdoors whereas in many sound films, they couldn't because they did not have the technology yet to block other sounds.  When the men are marching towards the Germans, King Vidor had a metronome outside attached to a loudspeaker. The men had to march to the beat, fire on the beat, drop on the beat-astonishing work.

I spoke about John Gilbert during my A to Z because he was the biggest star after Valentino died. He died young and was a victim of sound. Renee Adoree contracted T.B. and died in 1934. Karl Dane who plays one of Gilbert's pals in the film was Danish and due to his heavy accent, he could not find work after sound came in. He shot himself in 1934. A sad end to the 3 main stars of this film.

On that happy note, go check out the others and have a great weekend!

58 comments:

  1. The society's first silent film. Very cool!

    Sounds like a powerful movie.

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    1. It is especially the 2nd half. Excellent film all around

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    2. It doesn't seem to be on Netflix. :(

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  2. I enjoy silent films because of the skill and creativity they display. When you can't use words and there are no real special effects, conveying so many ideas and emotions becomes a true art form. When you said old, I obviously wasn't thinking old enough...I do believe someone guessed this. Wonderful choice. Thanks for sharing it.

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    1. This is a 90 yr old film and one that holds after all these years even though it is silent.

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  3. hahaha my cheating was right. Wait, no, i really knew that at my site. Don't you believe little old me? That is sure a lot of money for those days indeed, wow.

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    1. Yes you did cheat just a little but that's OK although I never have done that. If you believe me I have some wonderful swamp land to sell you

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  4. LOVE silent films. I'll have to check this one out!

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    1. Oh good. I hope you see it and let me know what you think

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    1. Yeah...it did. I couldn't help myself because in 11 years the 3 are gone. The movie, though, is a great testament to their acting

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  6. This sounded interesting and one I had not heard about. I must confess, I don't think I have ever seen a silent film, but not because of not wanting to, just haven't take the time to do so. Must put that on my bucket list and might start with this one.

    betty

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    1. If you can, make sure you get this one where it says "restored' as the music used is what was in the theatres although that was live back then.

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  7. Silent films are generally so focused on emotions, probably because they can't use their voices to communicate. They can be fascinating to watch.

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    1. They are focused on emotions but you can't go by what you see in clips because that only reveals small parts of the film. This one has humour and you can read the lips at times and there are swear words every once in a while. Well done film.

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  8. To bad we don't live closer. I would watch the silent movies with you.
    My Mum and I used to watch then on TV late at night and talk about how "sound" destroyed many actors. Plus I think acting became stilled because of the need to be near the sound boom.
    Terrific review !

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Oh yes-I do have a few silent films thankfully. Sound did destroy many actors as well as the whole way of making films. In the silent era they could film on location and have sweeping movements but when sound came in, the directors and cameraman had to be in small boxes because the camera would be picked up by the sound mike. The mike was stationary at the beginning so the mike was in a bush or hidden in some plant. If you watched Singing In The rain, they portray it accurately.

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  9. Wow, how tragic for the three stars of the film. I have yet to watch a silent film, and I had not heard of this one before. We'll have to add it to our list!

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    1. This is a great film and one worth watching.

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  10. I do love silent films. Or I did. Before I became one of those people who don't watch TV but listen to it (while knitting). But I do still enjoy a good silent. It's been years since I saw one, though.

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    1. Oh this is a good one and if you ever get a chance, I hope you get to see it

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  11. I agree with Nancy...we are going to find this one!!

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    1. Oh and you can let me know what you think

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  12. Going too far back for me I'm afraid.

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  13. Hey Bergit, where could I see this film? I don't think I've heard of it.
    Jilda is the old movie expert in our family.

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    1. I found this great DVD in Toronto and snapped it up. It is a great film about war-the boring part of it and the horrors of it. I hope you can find it and watch it . If you do let me know what you think

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  14. Ah, no wonder I couldn't guess from your clues! I've not heard of this at all. What sad endings for the three stars.
    The only silent film I can remember watching as an adult is Nosferatu and the Vampire, but they sometimes used to show one on TV on a Sunday afternoon when I was a kid - though mostly the comedies.
    Anabel's Travel Blog

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    1. I have Nosferatu also and that is a great film and scary!

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  15. How awful what happened to the 3 stars! I have a love/hate relationship with silent films. I'm a film student and appreciate the history and mastery involved, but I also have the attention span of a gnat, so it's hard to sit through some movies that are very cliche (though they weren't cliche at the time.) Thanks for all the info - very interesting! Have a lovely weekend! :)

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    1. Yes I think one has to love the silent or it just won't work. If you do see this I hope you find it different from the norm for you.

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  16. Oh gosh! You reminded me of that movie Nosferatu! It scared me like crazy when I was younger!

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  17. Oh gosh! You reminded me of that movie Nosferatu! It scared me like crazy when I was younger!

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    1. I have Nosferatu also and that is scary especially the Count. The makeup was eerie and when he rose from his coffin...that gave me chills.

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  18. Sounds like an amazing film. There is no way I could get my husband to watch a silent film or really most films that aren't "guy films" - he'd rather watch Major League for the 10th time.

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  19. Sounds like an amazing film. There is no way I could get my husband to watch a silent film or really most films that aren't "guy films" - he'd rather watch Major League for the 10th time.

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  20. Sounds like an amazing film. There is no way I could get my husband to watch a silent film or really most films that aren't "guy films" - he'd rather watch Major League for the 10th time.

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    1. Hahahaaa-That's why I watched it in the morning so I don't have to hear his sighs of discontent and yappiness

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  21. I love old silent films, and this is one I had not heard of. I'm going to have to track this down online and give it a watch. Thank God others still love them enough to upload them digitally... don't know how else I'd watch otherwise.

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    1. Glad you will watch it. I have the DVD with the commentary.

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  22. I'd never even heard of this one before, but how tragic that all three stars had such tragic deaths.

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    1. Yes they did and all were hurt by sound

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  23. Something about silent movies ... so hauntingly mesmerising. Love this movie.
    hugs, Asha

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    1. So nice to know you have seen this film

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  24. You've got me wanting to see the movie, Birgit. I'm especially curious about the soldiers, marching, shooting, and dropping at the sound of the beat.

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    1. It is quite spooky actually. Very well done. Let me know what you think

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  25. John Gilbert...ahhhhhh...what an old Hollywood icon!

    I have to see this movie; I need to catch up on the silent films that are so available now. Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino are not the only greats of the silent era!

    Thanks, Birgit!

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    1. Yes he was an icon and you are also right about those 2 not being the only ones. Buster Keaton, Greta Garbo, Lillian Gish, Colleen Moore...the list goes on

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  26. I'm not familiar with this one. And you are so right. It is sad how they all passed.
    Hope your vacation has been a great one.

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    1. It is sad since they were all hurt by sound. Yes my vacation was good and soon will be over...one more day:)

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  27. This is an interesting recurring feature, Birgit. It's been years since I've seen this movie and silent movies in general, so thanks for the write-up. I didn't realize it was such a blockbuster in its day. Great review!

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  28. I've never heard of it until I've read your post. Sounds cool.

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  29. Its interesting watching doors close in movies or dishes clattering silently in kitchens, etc - the cringe-factor is always cut out. In space epics there should be no sound but in Star Wars fantasy there is! LOL.

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  30. Silent films are a treasure, I agree... Technology has its advantages, to be sure, but back-to-basics has a charm of integrity that can't be beat. Makes me think of that song, Video Killed the Radio Star. So sad.

    Thanks for the visit (and vote!) over at Quiet Laughter -- always so nice to see your name in the comments, Birgit :)

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  31. Birgit, I love the outstanding review you give these old films. I've never liked silent, but you made me want to see this one!

    Thank you!

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  32. Wow! You can almost make a movie centred around this film and all that took place after it came out and what happened to the stars.
    How did that song go?
    ♫ Audio killed the Silent (film) star ♪
    Or something like that.
    Thanks for the review, sounds like a great film.
    Who cares if it's silent? A good plot is a good plot, if you ask me.

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  33. I have not seen a silent movie in ages. I don't know of many, but this looks like a good one. I would love to give it a try. Definitely like the silent aspect. :) Thanks for sharing and continuing to expand my knowledge of movies!
    ~Jess

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  34. Film is ever evolving, isn't it?

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