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Silent cinema

The Big Parade

+ intro by author Michael Hammond

King Vidor’s silent classic is a powerful, funny, romantic anti-war film not to be missed.

Image from The Big Parade + intro by author Michael Hammond

USA 1925
Dir King Vidor
With John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Karl Dane, Hobart Bosworth
Certificate U
With live piano accompaniment by Neil Brand

One of the biggest Hollywood hits of the silent era, King Vidor’s The Big Parade wraps every WWI trope – the unlikely hero, the French girl, the comradeship, the horrors of battle – into a tidy narrative. But these were not yet clichés in 1925 and it’s easy to see why this powerful, funny, romantic anti-war film, scripted by Laurence Stallings and Harry Behn, became a model against which all WWI dramas would be measured.

Michael Hammond’s book The Great War in Hollywood Memory, 1918-1939 is published by SUNY Press.


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