THE BIG PARADE
1925, Warner Bros., 151 min, USA, Dir: King Vidor

King Vidor’s 1925 account of World War I delivers both epic sweep and intimate emotional moments in its tale of a young soldier (John Gilbert) who finds solace in the arms of a French woman (Renée Adorée) amidst the horror of war. Made just seven years after the end of the Great War, the film was the first war picture to tell its story from the point of view of a soldier. While the first half of the film is part light-hearted comedy, the second depicts war very realistically.


SHIP OF FOOLS
1965, Sony Repertory, 149 min, USA, Dir: Stanley Kramer

An all-star cast sails aboard this thought-provoking drama, adapted by Abby Mann from Katherine Anne Porter’s 1962 novel. As an ocean liner travels from Veracruz, Mexico, to Bremerhaven, Germany in 1933, few among the diverse group of passengers – which includes Oskar Werner, Simone Signoret, Lee Marvin, George Segal and, in her final role, Vivien Leigh – suspect the dark future ahead of them as the Nazis rise to power. Nominated for eight Oscars, with wins for B&W Cinematography and Art Direction.


THE LAST VALLEY
1971, Buena Vista Pictures, 128 min, UK/USA, Dir: James Clavell

Writer-director James Clavell’s epic adventure takes place in the shadow of the Thirty Years War, which ravaged Germany in the 17th century. One remote region remains unscathed when Omar Sharif arrives in search of refuge; unfortunately, he’s been followed into the valley by Michael Caine and his band of mercenary soldiers. With superb performances, a highly literate script and one of John Barry’s best scores, THE LAST VALLEY brings a little-known period of history to vivid life.


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