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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (March 6, 1921)

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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Released on March 6, 1921: Think Gone With the Wind, Casablanca and Titanic, only bigger, and you have the highest grossing film in history, adjusted for inflation.

Directed by Rex Ingram

The Actors: Pomeroy Cannon (Madariaga), Josef Swickard (Marcelo Desnoyers), Bridgetta Clark (Dona Luisa), Rudolph Valentino (Julio Desnoyers), Virginia Warwick (Chichi), Alan Hale (Karl von Hartrott), Mabel Van Buren (Elena), Stuart Holmes (Otto von Hartrott), John St. Polis (Etienne Laurier), Alice Terry (Marguerite Laurier), Mark Fenton (Senator Lacour), Derek Ghent (Rene Lacour), Nigel De Brulier (Tchernoff), Bowditch M. Turner (Argensola), Edward Connelly (lodgekeeper), Wallace Beery (Lieutenant Colonel von Richthosen), Harry Northrup (the General), Arthur Hoyt (Lieutenant Schnitz), Jaques D'Auray (Captain d'Aubrey), Claire de Lorez (Mademoiselle Lucette), Rose Dione (flag bearer), Beatrice Dominguez (dancer), Louise Emmons (French mother bidding farewell), John George (Ranchhand in Argentina), Jean Hersholt (Professor von Hartrott), Noble Johnson (Conquest), Isabelle Keith (German woman), Fred Kelsey (unknown), Kathleen Key (Georgette), Henry Klaus (Heinrich von Hartrott), J. Jiquel Lanoe (German woman's husband), Andy MacLennan (drunk seeing goldfish in glass), Minnehaha (the old nurse), Bull Montana (the French butler), Ramon Novarro (guest at the ball), Curt Rehfeld (Major Blumhardt), Brinsley Shaw (Celendonio), Georgia Woodthorpe (lodgekeeper's wife), Patrick Youch (French soldier in trenches).


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How can I express how important this movie is to the history of motion pictures? Think Gone With The Wind - only bigger. Gone With The Wind is an epic tale of love and war during the great Civil War in the U.S. This movie is an epic tale of love and war during the great global war that was so horrible that it was thought to be the war that would end all wars - World War One. Remember the scene in Casablanca with the French out singing the Germans in Rick's gin joint - only bigger and more raw emotions grip you in this one.

You don't need to be terribly old to remember the impact that the 1997 movie Titanic had at the box office. It shot Leonardo DiCaprio to instant star status. This movie made Rudolph Valentino one of the greatest and most remembered movie stars of all time. Rudolph Valentino is the young and handsome lover of a married woman. The lives of the husband, wife, and her lover will be forever changed by their love, deceit, and the ravages of a war to end all wars.

Historic relevance? The great World War One ended in 1918, and one year later, in 1919, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, a famous Spanish author, penned an epic tale of love and war that swept the globe like wildfire. The war and the lives it changed were still very fresh memories around the world. In Hollywood several studios wanted to turn his history making book into a movie, but all of the studios except one thought that it was much to large a task to undertake. It took a woman named June Mathes to convince Metro Pictures Corporation to make this epic tale about war. It has been, and may still be the highest grossing motion picture of all time, adjusted for inflation. If you will only watch one silent motion picture, this is the one you must watch. And I guarantee you that if you will get twenty minutes into it, you will not stop until the incredible ending.

Wait just one second before you rush off to pop your big bowl of white kernel popcorn drizzled with warm melted butter . . . let me tell you just a couple of behind the scenes tid-bits first. Rudolph Valentino stole this movie from the other stars, but he was not intended to be the leading character. In fact, his pay for the movie was the lowest of all the main characters. Not only that, but they forced him to purchase all of his costumes out of his own money! The main characters are Spanish, but Valentino was French . . . if you speak French and can read lips, you may notice that Valentino and his leading lady both spoke their lines in French. In the book, there is not a dance scene at the beginning in Argentina, but Valentino up until this time was a studio dancer, with small dance parts in movies. To show off his dance talents, he boldly introduces the Tango to American audiences for the first time, and it has been a hot, romantic and popular dance ever since. Okay . . . grab your popcorn and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime . . . The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse . . .

Rudolph ValentinoRudolph Valentino
Rudolph Valentino - 1921Rudolph Valentino in Argentina
Rudolph Valentino dances the TangoJoseph Swickard
Rudolph Valentino dances the Tango with Beatrice DominguezGrandpa watching the dance
Rudolph Valentino and Alice TerryJulio is caught with another man's wife
Rudolph Valentino and Alice TerryJulio is caught with another man's wife
John St. Polis and Alice TerryRudolph Valentino and Alice Terry
John St. Polis and Alice TerryRudolph Valentino and Alice Terry