File: The Big Parade.webm
Author: King Wallis Vidor
Note: A 1925 American silent war drama film directed by King Vidor, starring John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Hobart Bosworth, Tom O'Brien, and Karl Dane.
Cat: Drama film, War film
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gratefully acknowledges the splendid co-operation of the Second Division, United States Army and Air Service Units, Kelly Field."
In the Spring of 1917, America was a nation occupied in peaceful progression. Mills were humming with activity -
Buildings climbed skyward, monuments to commerce and profession.
Here "Slim" Jensen worked .... just one of labor's millions, building a nation.
Along The Bowery were men of another trade. Among them was "Bull" O'Hara.
On life's other side were rich men, chiefs of industry ... and rich men's sons - such as Jim Apperson.
"Are you for sure goin' to take a job in your father's mill?"
"Me ... work? I should say not!"
"What's all that tootin' about?"
"For the love of Mike! They're making enough noise to wake up the whole country!"
In such an hour, most mothers are alike...and Jim's mother was no exception.
"I have enough war on my hands...with Dad."
As long as Jim could remember he had been in love with Justyn Reed.
"Aren't you thrilled that we're going to war?"
"You'll look gorgeous in an officer's uniform! I'll love you more than ever then."
What a thing is patriotism! We go for years not knowing we have it. Suddenly - Martial music! .... Native flags! ... Friends cheer! .... and it becomes life's greatest emotion!
"Come on! The whole gang's going over!"
Evening - -
"It's come, Mother! Now we must all pitch in and do our bit!"
"Harry has already organized double shifts at the mill... and he's going to work nights!"
"Look here, young man! I've stood all the nonsense and idleness from you that I'm going to stand!"
"We're in the fight now... and it's time for every man to jump in and get busy!"
"Look at your brother! See how he's putting his shoulder to the wheel!"
"The country's at war! There's no room in my house for idlers! You'll do something or .... get out!"
"Is that all?"
"Do you mind if I stay here tonight?"
"Is it all right with you?"
"Aren't you all proud of him?"
"Hasn't he told you?"
"Jim has enlisted!"
From avenue and alley they came.... ROOKIES.
"You're in the army now, You're not behind a plow; You'll never get rich, You son-of-a-gun, You're in the army now!"
And so the "laughing American" boys, a song on their lips, marched into France.
One nightfall, after a march of twenty miles, they arrived in Champillon.... weary and ready for sleep.
"Orders for billeting!"
"Corporal! Have your men police this yard before they hit the hay!"
"Hey, you Bozoes! No sleep for you babies until you dress this manure pile!"
"Come on! Take the anchors off them shovels!"
"No use to raise a row; Shovel and chuck The goo and the muck, You're in the army now!"
"Say, I joined this army to fight.... not shovel!"
"You'll shovel and like it, dearie!"
"Now, you big stiff - SHOVEL!"
"What do you birds think this is... a May party? Come on! Show me some speed!"
"It's to eat ... ain't it?"
"This ain't such a bad war."
March and sweat the whole damned day; Sleep at night in lousy hay; Turn out mornin's full o'dirt, And scrub the real estate off your shirt! That's.... the.... life.... in.... the.... arm-ee!
"We're in the army now, And we have all learned how To wash our shirty And still have it dirty, We're in the army now!"
"We rub our socks Till we wear out the rocks, We're in the army now!"
"We drown the fleas In our Bee Vee Dees, We're in the army now!"
"Hey, Slim! If I had a barrel I could make a shower bath."
"If I had a bow-and- arrow I could shoot a bear!"
"It's a great idea... but who's goin' to get the barrel?"
After an hour of his best sign language, convincing the wine-shop keeper that he wanted a barrel, and not a fat girl, Jim started on his way back.
"I AM it!"
"C'est vous qui m'a fait rire, n'est ce pas?"
"I don't understand a word you say... but I know what you mean."
"Voo... and... me... vooley voo.... take.... little .... petite.... walk?"
"French is Greek to me."
"He... froggie! You... froggie!"
"Parley voo Francay... Chevrolet Coupe?"
"You big stiff! You don't handle girls the way you handle rivets!"
That evening Jim detailed himself to some more "skirt duty".
"Me... you... tres... much.... love."
"Gee... aimy... vowse... boo.... coop!"
"Je suis très contente."
"I... am... verree... happee!"
"Reviens à huit heures."
"Eight o'clock... me... returny."
"Come on, Bon Ami... slip Poppa a little kiss!"
"Your hat, Mister Hemingway ... I'm sorry I misplaced your cane."
"I got to hand it to you! You're certainly makin' this war a social success!"
Once a week, at Melisande's home, there was a patriotic gathering to read letters from loved ones at the front.
"Must he do that?"
"There's wine in that cellar, pardner! We can't leave Jim to tackle it all alone, can we?"
"Can you figure any guy settin' in his parlor.... when he's got a cellar like this?"
"Can you imagine! Some guys was saps enough to join the navy!"
"Oh-h-h! You dirty M.P's!!"
"So you're the birds who go around swiping wine?"
"We got Jim in this trouble.... now we gotta get him out, ain't we?"
"Get in it, gang! This ain't a private fight!"
"We weren't stealn' wine, sir. We were just doin' our duty."
"AH! Monsewer Demi Tasse!"
Eat your chow from tin mess-kits; Pick your teeth with bay-o-nits; Shine your shoes on hunks of pork; And the barber shaves you with a knife and fork! That's...the...life...in...the... arm-ee!
"Corporal Michael Olysius O'Hara!"
"As soon as I've read my mail I'll have your chevrons removed."
"I'd like to see the little cootie try to break me!"
"Who did you think it was for... General Pershing?"
"Can you readee-voo Francay?"
"My boy, you certainly know your onions!"
As far as "Bull" could figure.... "the war was a flop".
"Aw, they're making this a helluva army!"
"Fall in! Company street! Full packs and tin hats! Ten minutes! We're moving up!!"
"Step on it, Lightning! WE'RE MOVING UP!"
"I'm coming back! - Remember - - - I'm coming back!"
"Men! Men! Men! Moving up! Up! UP! MEN!!"
IT HAD BEGUN!
THE BIG PARADE Men! Guns! Men! Men! Guns!
To the front! To the front! To the front.... Front!...FRONT!
An endless column surging forward over roads that never were retraced.
The "Eyes of the Army"!
And when Jim's outfit reached the fighting zone, motor trucks were left behind and the remaining miles made a-foot.
"We're ridden far enough and walked far enough to be in China!"
"Nix! If this was China you'd see a lot of Chop Suey joints around!"
Whenever there were new arrivals near the front, "Flying Fritzie" usually sneaked across the line to give them their first welcome.
"Well, we're in it now, Buddy!"
To the front! To the front! To the front.... Front!...FRONT!
"Gimme a cigarette, Bull."
I don't mind givin' you cigarettes.... but I hate carryin' 'em all 'round France for you."
"Gimme a match."
"What am I.... Santy Claus?"
"Well, they say the woods ahead are alive with machine guns and snipers. What do you say, Captain?"
"We're ready for orders, sir."
"They're not going to send us out in that open field, are they?"
"Sure! We're gonna keep goin' till we can't go no farther!"
Outnumbered by the second line of German defense, they took refuge in shell holes.
"This dump is lousy with Heinies! I could chuck my hat across to where they are."
"Quit squawkin'! You don't want to live forever, do you?"
That was how they received their baptism of fire.... and while they held the line, the machine of war moved up behind them.
Dusk — — Silence.... Mud.... the whine of a shell... Mud.... Silence....
"He's got us spotted!"
"Come on out... you ostrich!"
"Am I dead yet?"
"The skipper says for one of you guys to go get that Fritzie with the toy cannon."
"Why should you take the chance to be picked off? You're no better than we are!"
"We'll settle this.... like gentlemen!"
"The guy what spits closest... goes! And splashes don't count."
"But you're the champion spitter of the whole army."
"No arguin' with a Corporal! What I says.... is orders!"
"I... am... IT!"
"Out there's no place for little boys like you."
Slowly, inch by inch, Slim wriggled his way.... until full darkness came.
"Do you think he'll make it all right?
"Sure! Slim'll come back wearin' the Kaiser's moustache!"
"For the love of Mike, be calm.... like me!"
"Say, you hyenas.... pipe down!"
"You can't make us shut up! Slim's out there alone!"
"Cut that out. You got orders!"
"God, Bull... I can hear Slim moaning out there."
"Orders! Orders! Who the hell is fighting this war — men or orders?"
"I came to fight - not to wait and rot in a lousy hole while they murder my pal!"
"Waiting! Orders! Mud! Blood! Stinking stiffs! What the hell do we get out of this war anyway!"
" - cheers when we left and when we get back! But who the hell cares... after this?"
"Don't let it get you, kid.... don't let it get you!"
"I'm goin' to bring Slim back!"
"Slim, can't you just try to say... good-bye?"
"They got him! They got him! GOD DAMN THEIR SOULS!"
"You got my Buddy, you b———s! Now.... COME ON!"
"I'll meet you in Berlin!"
Another Big Parade.
"Where did you get yours?"
"They nicked me as we were going through Champillon."
"Say, that farmhouse has changed hands four times since yesterday."
"How far is Champillon from here?"
"Six kilometers north."
The last gun had thundered! The fields of France were stilled in peace. The Apperson home knew its greatest hour! Jim was coming back!
"Well, son.... you'll soon be home."
"I guess you'll be glad to see your old sweetheart again?"
"I can't give you up, Justyn -"
"We mustn't forget what Jim has been through."
"You look great, Jim, old man!"
"Don't try to kid me! I know what I look like!"
"Jim boy, mother and I are proud of you.... and we thank God you've been spared."
"There's a girl in France - -"
"Then you must find her.... nothing else matters."
Women of France.