Science Fiction Books

WW1 Film Series: The Big Parade with Prof. Larry Benaquist

Wednesday, August 30, 2017, at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium

Professor Larry Benaquist introduces the film "The Big Parade," a 1925 silent film directed by King Vidor, starring John Gilbert. The story follows Jim Apperson, an idle rich boy who joins the US Army's Rainbow Division in 1917 and is sent to France to fight in World War I. He becomes friends with two working-class men, Slim and Bull (Karl Dane and Tom O'Brien), experiences the horrors of trench warfare, and finds love with a French girl, Melisande (Renee Adoree).

The movie was considered ground-breaking for presenting an unflinching look at the horror of war. It won the Photoplay Medal of Honor Award (a precursor to the Oscars) in 1925. It is believed to be the highest-grossing film of The Twenties, having grossed something like twenty million dollars in an era where one could get a movie ticket for a quarter. It was a milestone in the early history of MGM. 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".

This program is part of World War I and America, a two-year national initiative of The Library of America presented in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and other organizations, with generous support from The National Endowment for the Humanities. 

MGM, 1925, 140 minutes