(Review originally written at 5 September 2007)

This movie has got basically everything in it; comedy, action, romance. A true good old fashioned epic and a well balanced mix of genres. Besides the good and realistic love story, I also especially liked the way the comedy was handled. It was quite different in its compositions and build up when compared to other '20's movies.

But yes, the movie isn't of course all innocent fun and laughter. The movie above all is an anti-war movie, that shows war is hell, which biggest power is its realism. Especially for '20's standards this is a very realistic and honest made movie, that chooses an effective approach on things. Also its acting is realistic, while most actors in '20's movies normally also tend to go over-the-top with their performances. It also makes the characters in this movie more engaging than usually would be the case.

Even though it isn't halve way through the movie that the first war action occurs, it are still the battle sequences that impress the most in the movie. It makes the contrast between the happy first halve and the dramatic and emotional second one all the bigger and more interesting. Most battle sequences are real large, with lots of extras and war equipment involved. For some sequences literally thousands of extras were used! It also features some different war sequences from the usual, as always presented in movies, battles in the trenches. The movie has more than one memorable and effective sequences in it.

The entire movie is greatly paced, with some nimble editing but the pace is especially due to the fine storytelling of the movie. King Vidor uses some great compositions and transition effects. On top of that the movie is great looking, with great cinematography, its big looking battle sequences and realistic looking sets. It was an expensive movie to make at its time but this eventually all payed off, since this movie became the biggest grossing silent movie in history.

A fantastic and effective epic WW I movie, from King Vidor, that also shows that epics don't necessarily have to be 3 hours long.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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