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1930s & Earlier / Final Scene from The Big Parade - 1925
One of film history's largely forgotten masterpieces is The Big Parade (1925). Directed by King Vidor, the movie stars John Gilbert as James (Jim) Apperson, the pampered son of an American industrialist who, while watching a military procession, is persuaded by his patriotic friends to enlist in the US Army to fight in the First World War. The main female character, Melisande, a French farm girl, is played by Renee Adoree. The plot has Jim's unit being billeted on the grounds of Melisande's farm and the two falling in love--despite the language barrier and Jim being engaged to a girl back home named Justyn. The two lovers are separated as Jim's unit is called to the front. Jim is wounded in the leg. While recuperating in a hospital, Jim learns that Melisande's farm has changed hands several times and that Melisande and her mother are among hundreds of refugees who have fled their homes. Just before Jim returns stateside as an amputee, his mother discovers that Justyn has fallen in love with Jim's brother. Accordingly, Jim's mother urges him to return to France to look for Melisande. Here is the climactic scene when Jimmy and Melisande reunite.