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.


LA BOHÈME
1926, Warner Bros., 105 min, USA, Dir: King Vidor

Sumptuously designed (costumes are by an uncredited Erté), King Vidor’s follow-up to THE BIG PARADE was this luminous silent romance, based on the Henri Murger book that also inspired the classic Puccini opera. In this tale of struggling artists in 1830 Paris, embroiderer Mimi (Lillian Gish) and playwright Rodolphe (John Gilbert) are next-door neighbors who grow closer after each is threatened with eviction – though her self-sacrifice and his tempestuous nature set the stage for tragedy. Gish’s final odyssey through the cobblestone streets of Paris’ Latin Quarter is one for the ages. With Edward Everett Horton.


THE MERRY WIDOW
1934, Warner Bros., 99 min, USA, Dir: Ernst Lubitsch

Director Ernst Lubitsch reunites his LOVE PARADE stars Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald for this effervescent adaptation of Franz Lehar’s operetta. When the kingdom of Marshovia teeters on insolvency, a playboy is asked to marry a wealthy widow and keep her fortune from leaving the country. Both English and French language versions of this musical comedy were shot simultaneously; the American release earned an Oscar for Art Direction


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