MOVIE REVIEWS

Big Parade (1925)

7/10 NR 02 hr 21 min

January 1, 1925

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Recently in approaching the milestone of seeing my 5,000th film (at least by my IMDb list of my shoddy recollections), I wanted to make it a very special film, so it was between the blus of this and 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre'. That was a very special work too, but in retrospect, I felt this was an even finer film. I haven't seen much of Vidor's work (only 'The Champ', 'Hallelujah' and 'The Fountainhead'--all of which I greatly admired), but I knew he was a great American director to be reckoned with, for any cinephile worth his salt. Plus, I had always been intrigued by the then-sex symbol status of ill-starred John Gilbert (especially since my favourite actress ever, Great Garbo, was so enraptured by him).

This was remarkable. I was astounded by how Vidor (who said beforehand he wanted to finally make a film that wouldn't simply be gone from theatres in a week, but would play on for years, and that he would put forth a much greater effort if that could be the case, especially if either about steel, wheat or war) mixed elements, emotions and atmosphere so expertly. Even though it was a first-watch, since it was a silent film I thought it would be all right to throw on the Jeffrey Vance commentary, which contained four interview snippets from Vidor, late in his life in the 1970's. It was a wonderful cinephilic experience, and the book that enclosed the blu ray release was even more telling, with tons of pictures and essays about the American landmark of silent cinema.

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