(Review originally written at 1 December 2007)

The first halve of the movie already makes a great movie on its own, in which it focuses on the more dramatic and romantic aspects. Everything you would expect from a Rudolph Valentino movie. But the movie gets even better halve way trough, starting with the prophecy of the four horseman of the apocalypse, at the dawn of WW I. The movie then becomes such a great and powerful anti-war movie. It's the sort of 'war and peace' approach of the movie that makes it so great as well as effective.

In its storytelling and compositions the movie was at least 20 years ahead of its time. At times while watching this movie it's really hard to believe that this movie was made in the very early '20's. It has some amazing powerful striking images, such as the visualization of the actual four horseman of the apocalypse and a couple of sequence toward the ending, which I'm not going to spoil.

The movie features some religious themes, but it isn't done in a preachy or distracting way. It's sort of done in the same way as in the "Ben-Hur" movies. It's beautifully weaved into the story, without scaring off the non-religious persons.

The movie can be a called an epic because of its story and storytelling but also because of its images. The early battle sequences are all grand and impressive looking (although its obvious that some of it is simply archive footage, from presumable WW I) and so are its settings. It of course helps that the movie is set throughout in different places and continents as well.

Despite that this is Rudolph Valentino's first real big movie role and this was the movie that made him a big star, it isn't really a Valentino movie, in the sense of that he is the one and main hero of the movie. The movie throughout focuses on a lot of character and only in the middle part it focuses prominently on Valentino.

Truly one of the best and most powerful movies out of the silent era.


About Frank Veenstra

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