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THE BIG PARADE

USA, 1925 (MIFF 1965)

Director: King Vidor

"The production of The Big Parade, cost two hun­dred and forty-five thousand dollars. It catapulted John Gilbert to the status of a major star, and advanced Renee Adoree and Karl Dane up th ladder of fame. lt ran at Ihe Astor on Broadway for two years and took in a million and a half dollars at that theatre alone. In n few years it had grossed over fifteen million dollars and quickly put M.G.M. on an exiremely solid foundation and with Ben Hur, pushed the new company into top place. Irving Thalberg was hailed as the production genius of the industry; Laurence Stagings was praised for his story: and I found myself among the lop direc­tors." (King Vidor.)

The film originally made in 1925 was synchronised for sound and reissued six years later. In the interval Ihe first World War had been "discovered" by the novel, the theatre and film: but to think of Vidor's film as a product of this period is unfair to his painstaking originality. Most movies of the war up to this time can be filed away somewhere between the dime novel and unreal-comedy patriotism; The Big Parade might have been little better except for Vidor's appreciation that nothing in war is so dramatic as military strategy.

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