The Big Parade
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The highest-grossing silent film of all time, as well as the first realistic war drama, tells the harrowing story of a young man's (John Gilbert) front-line experiences in World War I. Year: 1927 Director: King Vidor Starring: John Gilbert, Renee Adoree, Claire Adams, Hobart Bosworth, Karl Dane]]>
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Warner Home Video's Blu-ray Book Edition of THE BIG PARADE has been fully restored from the original camera negative, and the result will take your breath away. There's nary a speck to be seen in the immaculate 4k scanned, 1080p resolution transfer, which includes all the original tints. The outstanding full orchestra score is by Carl Davis, and integrates popular WWI tunes like "Over There" and "You're in the Army Now" with ominous crescendos underscoring the action sequences.
The special features are a collector's delight: a handsomely illustrated 64 page book with notes by historian Kevin Brownlow, an audio commentary by historian Jeffrey Vance with excerpts from King Vidor, a half hour short from 1925 called "Studio Tour", and the original theatrical trailer.
This cinematic landmark definitely ranks as one of the major vintage home video releases in recent years, and belongs on the shelf of any self-respecting classic film buff, right next to the Blu-rays of WINGS (1927) and ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930).
My highest recommendation.
The first half of the film is a bit slow at times, although the antics of O'Brien and Dane provide comedy relief that is often hilarious (especially Dane's character). It is definitely worth the wait when Jim's unit goes off to battle. Melisande desperately clings to Jimmy not to leave (symbolism that foreshadows Jim's ultimate fate). Once on the battlefield, the fighting scenes are as well-done as any I've seen on the First World War. The troops slowly move through the devastated landscape, preparing for the next sniper attack. The three buddies end up in a trench together and spit in a target to decide who will go over the top and take out a German machine gunner (the WINNER goes over the top), Jim goes after a German he has wounded in order to finish him off and then finds he is unable to when he sees that his enemy is just a young kid. When Jim realizes the horror of war, only one thing really matters: the French girl he left behind. He must find her again! The film is one of the funniest, suspense-filled, and touching films I've seen (yes, it's all those things and more). Give it a try!
The story introduces us to three different characters:one a construction worker(Dane),a bartender(O'Brien)and a spoiled rich kid(Gilbert).WW1 comes to America and everyone seems to be in the spirit to fight or do something to help the war effort,that is except Gilbert.Out the first day of the announcement,he runs into a recruiting parade.A few friends drive by in the parade and persuade Gilbert to enlist...and off he goes.The next day at home his father has a heart to heart with his recalcitrant son,telling him in no uncertain terms its either help or get out.It is then Gilbert's girlfriend comes running in saying how great it is about Gilbert enlisting.Gilbert has been trying to figure out how to tell them....ooops! With that he has an instantly proud father and brother,but a broken hearted mother.
Gilbert soon ships out and first day at camp finds him united with who are to become his two best buddies,Dane and O'Brien.They are three totally different people coming together for one glorious adventure/cause.In France the regiment they are in is billeted in a farmhouse in Champillon.Alot of funny moments ensue as the three get used to life,as they await their turn to go to the front.Amongst it all Gilbert falls in love with farm girl Adoree'.When the call finally comes to go"up front",Gilbert has just received a letter from his sweetheart back home.Adoree' has found out about it and Gilbert is torn.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the greatest silent films ever made. To see it in HD means that it's likely better than it was when audiences first watched in theaters.Published 9 days ago by jimv
An affecting WWI drama-comedy. Takes a long time to get to the battle, but the scope of the battle scenes is very impressive. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A classic in the realm of silent film. A must see for film students/fans, as well as for those interested in history, primarily the First World War.Published 6 months ago by HSP
I had seen this film decades ago and never forgot it. What a pleasure to see it again, in an exquisite print, with an excellent new score and a fascinating informational booklet... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Carol George
Interesting film that shows how folks back then were really into supporting the doughboys. Good film for historic perspective of what it was like back then. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Reviewer
Haven't seen a movie like this before. A silent, lengthy war movie of substance.Published 9 months ago by Topaz
It's hard to believe that a two plus hour SILENT movie could keep us enthralled. It's a must for people with interest in World War I and for film buffsPublished 11 months ago by Cape Cod Grandma