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Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Crowd (1928) Our Daily Bread (1934), The Big Parade (1925), GREED (1924), The Merry Widow (1925)

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The Big Parade (1925) John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Hobart Bosworth, Claire McDowell
Directed by King Vidor
Produced by Irving Thalberg (uncredited)
Written by Harry Behn, Laurence Stallings (novel Plumes)
Music by William Axt
Release date: November 5, 1925
Running time: 141 minutes
Gross revenue $18–22 million

It tells the story of an idle rich boy who joins the US Army's Rainbow Division and is sent to France to fight in World War I, becomes friends with two working class men, experiences the horrors of trench warfare, and finds love with a French girl.

The film was ground-breaking for not glorifying the war or its human costs, exemplified by the lead character's loss of a leg from battle wounds. It heavily influenced all subsequent war films, especially All Quiet on the Western Front (1930).

It was adapted by Harry Behn and King Vidor (uncredited) from the play by Joseph Farnham and the autobiographical novel Plumes by Laurence Stallings, and directed by Vidor.

It stars John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Claire Adams, Karl Dane, Robert Ober and Tom O'Brien.
The Big Parade was one of the greatest hits of the 1920s, boosting Gilbert's career, and making Adorée a major star.

Tragically, Renée Adorée would soon be diagnosed with tuberculosis and die only a few years later. The film is the highest grossing silent film in cinema history, grossing $18–$22 million. In some larger cities this film was shown for a year or more continuously.

After the film's producers found a clause in Vidor's contract, entitling the director to 20% of the net profits, studio lawyers called for a meeting with him. At this meeting, accountants played up the costs of the picture while downgrading their forecast of its potential success. King Vidor was thus persuaded to sell his stake in the film before receiving his percentage.

However, the film's tremendous success did establish Vidor as one of MGM's top directors for the rest of his career.

In 1992 The Big Parade was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

The film was re-issued in 1931 with a sound-track consisting of William Axt's score. Composer Carl Davis created a new orchestral score for the film in the 1980s (quoting the theme associated with Melisande in Axt's original setting), and it was restored and released on video in the late 1980s as part of the MGM and British television Thames Silents project.

The Crowd (1928) Starring James Murray, Eleanor Boardman and directed by King Vidor.

and on the same DVD - the sequel - Our Daily Bread (1934)

It is notable for its dramatization of the concerns and dangers of urbanization and modernity.

Directed by King Vidor
Produced by Irving Thalberg
Written by King Vidor, John V.A. Weaver
Cinematography Henry Sharp
Editing by Hugh Wynn
Distributed by MGM
Release date: February 18, 1928
Running time: 104 minutes

The picture is an influential and acclaimed feature and was nominated for the Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Production.

In 1989, this film was one of the first 25 films to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Greed (1924)

It was directed by Erich von Stroheim and starring Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts, Jean Hersholt, Dale Fuller, Tempe Pigott, Sylvia Ashton, Chester Conklin, Joan Standing and Jack Curtis.

The plot follows a dentist whose wife wins a lottery ticket, only to become obsessed with money. When her former lover betrays the dentist as a fraud, all of their lives are destroyed.

The movie was adapted by von Stroheim (shooting screenplay) and Joseph Farnham (titles) from the 1899 novel McTeague by Frank Norris. (The on-screen writing credit for June Mathis was strictly a contractual obligation to her on the part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (the parent studio), as she was not actually involved in the production.)

Originally over ten hours long, Greed was ultimately edited against von Stroheim's permission to about two and a half hours, and the full-length version is a lost film. This DVD TCM airing. 240min

The Merry Widow (1925) American silent MGM romantic drama film and black comedy directed and written by Erich von Stroheim. The film stars Mae Murray, John Gilbert and Roy D'Arcy.

Directed by Erich von Stroheim
Produced by Erich von Stroheim
Irving Thalberg (uncredited)
Written by Erich von Stroheim, Benjamin Glazer
Release date: August 26, 1925

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