Big Parade, The (1925)
Renée Adorée, John Gilbert
Karl Dane, left
Caption: Renee Adoree and John Gilbert in a scene from "The Big Parade" directed by King Vidor for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
O'Brien, John Gilbert and Karl Dane in "THE BiG PARADE"
The BIG PARADE
King Vidor's picturization
"THE BIG PARADE" goes forth to the world with the happy pride of its makers. You will find that this brave tale of the humors and thrills of War days has been told honestly. Memorable days! Slowly the scars heal, leaving us with tenderly fresh recollections of our boys, off to a great adventure, laughing, swearing, romancing, gone on the grandest lark of history -- The Big Parade.
Cast of Characters
Musical Score Arranged by
The Story of The BIG PARADE
JIM APPERSON (John Gilbert) was one of that great company of american youth who went across the seas to see what it was all about in those brave, exciting, thrilling days of America's entrance into the international mix-up.
It was sad to say good-bye. Jim left a sweetheart behind, Justyn (Claire Adams) and his mother (Claire McDowell). Mr. Apperson (Hobart Bosworth) appeared composed about this big, handsome boy of his going, carefree, on to war -- but there were tears in his eyes at the parting.
Jim didn't have much chance to think about home and mother. Before he knew it he was swinging down the avenue to embark for overseas with a bunch of buddies who might well have been off on a grand picnic instead of a war. He found he couldn't often be blue with Bull and Slim (played by Tom O'Brien and Karl Dane) as his side-kicks.
Slim was a big, lanky steam-fitter who took his fun where he could find it, and he managed to find it mostly in scrapping and loving. war looked good to Slim, as he marrily chewed his tobacco to the tune of "Over There." And bull could b ereckoned on to do his share in romance or fisticuff. Something drew these boys together -- Jim Apperson, the young gentleman, and Slim and Bull, the roughnecks.
Getting settled in gay France was no joke for the boys of Jim's company. But they kidded the M.P.s who put them to work manicuring a barn that was to be their home. Somebody sent Jim a cake from back home. After the Top Sergeant and various others got through, there was no cake for Jim. But the cake was so stale Jim could scarcely cut it with his bayonet. The other boys ate it with relish.
The long line of motor lorries moves forward.
"I'm coming with you, boys!"
Peace comes back to France.
John Gilbert star of The Big Parade
Sometimes there was mail from home. Jim wondered what there was in Justyn's life to occasion the change of tone in her letters. many boys weren't even lucky enough to get one letter for themselves. There were broken hearts at mail time.
Then days of waiting. Days that were nerve-wrecking. The boys were eager to move up to the front. Not Jim. for Jim had met Melisande (Renee Adoree) of the provocative lips, Melisande of the little waist around which Jim's arm loved to steal on moonlight nights. Melisande would slap him. Then kiss him with the "oh, so beeg kees!"
When the orders came to go, Melisande's heart sank within her. Such excitement. Everywhere hurrying soldiers, strapping on their equipment as they ran to fall in line. Boys with the high gleam of adventure in their eyes. Melisande searches frantically for her Jim. Has he gone? Bands blaring, the lines start forward out of the village of happy memories. Melisande runs madly down the street, looking, looking. Where is her Jim? And in another part of the line Jim stands, fearful lest he go into action without seeing his Melisande again. The Sergeant orders him to go on. He stops. he cannot go. He races back and searches. God! Will he never see her again? Then suddenly they find each other. he rushes forward and takes her in his arms and caresses the tear-stained face with gentle kisses. Good-bye, Melisande. She watches as the unending line of motor lorries packed with singing soldiers moves ceaselessly to the horizon, up, up, up to the front.
War! Never in history were such forces let loose by man to annihilate man. The first mad rush. Barrage is held. Swarming thousands go forward with a steady drive that is invincible. Then carnage from hostile guns. The lines fall back, surge forward again, are thrown back once more and go forward again. Up, up, up moves this human swarm with a steady, pounding force. Great gaps are town in this mass of men, but other men fill the gaps and the wave rolls on, sweeping over enemy entrenchments, stamping out whatever comes in the way. Until it must halt in the face of a very Hell let loose.
The three buddies find themselves in a shell-hole. One cigarette. They smoke in turns. An orderly crawling on his belly gives them a message. A machine gun must be captured. Each friend begs the others to permit him to take the risk. Slim proposes a way to decide. He draws a circular target in the dirt of the shell-hole wall. A chew of tobacco apiece and they aim. Jim goes wide of the mark. Bull is closer. Slim winks slyly and spits. Smack in the center.
They pray for Slim that night as he crawls over the top under cover of darkness. He is gone, gliding like a snake into the black. They wait in terror. Rockets flare again and again from hostile trenches, and machine guns sweep No Man's Land. Slim is gone too long. Maybe even now he needs them.
Jim can bear it no longer. He goes to find his buddy. there straight ahead of him is Slim. He calls to his friend. And when he reaches the silent form it is too late. A terrible frenzy seizes him. A terrible hatred fires him. he leaps to his feet. Regardless of the glare of rockets and the threat of machine gun bullets he runs.
They told Jim in the hospital, days later. of his great feat of courage. But glory meant nothing now that news had come of the destruction of Melisande's village. And with the Armistace, came thrillings days of peace and Home, but would he never more know the joy of Melisande?
Jim came home to find Justyn in love with another man. It was better so. At least in the arms of his Mother he knew that he return to find a love unchanged. it was a moment of misty eyes, glowing with exquisite tenderness. it was "Jim, my little boy," a benediction and aprayer of thenkfulness.
You cannot forget a love, such as Jim's for Melisande. Jim knew that when peaceful days came back to France, Melisande would seek out her old home again. And Jim was rignt. he found her in the fields, just as he had first seen her, and there they promised never to be separated again.
KING VIDOR has many splendid pictures to his credit. He has been in the studios since their earliest days. A superb craftsman, his skill, enhanced by the enthusiasm and sympathy of a young spirit, gives his work a universal appeal. The world now acclaims his production "The Big Parade." It takes its place amoung the world's dramatic works that go on forever, intermingling their laughter and their tears, down the corridors of time to immortality. King Vidor's success with the human theme, his fine feeling for the simple experiences of life marked him as the one man who should put on the screen this great epic of the boys who fought the war.
(Paralta Studios Ad on the back page)
Prologue to the BIG PARADE
A Sid Grauman Presentation
"MEMORIES OF 1918"
1 -- "Somewhere in France"
2 -- "Palace of Arches"
Allied Pageant costumes by Erte of Paris; executed by Madame Van Horne; costume painting executed by Bennett Nathan.
Entire production concieved and staged by Sid Grauman. Ralph P. Borst, assistant to Mr. Grauman.
Organist -- R. E. Becker
Because of the length of the prologue it is impossible to give due credit to all nations who participated in the World War.
JOHN GILBERT in
KING VIDOR'S PRODUCTION
THE BIG PARADE
by LAURENCE STALLINGS
with RENEE ADOREE
A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Picture
Directed by KING VIDOR
Musical Score by Carli Elinor
Manager for Mr. Grauman
This program came from a scrapbook and has two ticket stubs attached from the Saturday, November 7, 1925 screening. The seats were row 16 Left, seats 27 and 29.
with John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, and Karl Dane. Directed by King Vidor. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
More Information on this film...
King Vidor, American, by Raymond Durgnat, pp. 61-72
A Tree is a Tree, by King Vidor, chapter 11.
The War, The West, and the Wilderness, by Kevin Brownlow, pp. 184-194
Last Modified March 29, 2015