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  • I just caught this on TCM and it's the first time I've seen it since my teens. Either my maturity has given me a better appreciation for it or it has gotten better over the years, now that we're bombarded with so much garbage. I've carefully read all the comments here, and there's a common thread. Most take exception to the casting of Glenn Ford and classify the film as one of Minnelli's lesser efforts. It's not that I'm Glenn Ford's greatest fan, but I think he gives one of his finest performances here and is one of the movie's strengths. One doesn't have to be 21 to be a playboy; what he portrays, quite convincingly, is a mature dilletante. Minnelli's direction is typical of his late melodrama period that started with The Bad and the Beautiful. His style is jittery, baroque, and light years away from his airy musicals. The Four Horseman ranks right up there with some of his best later work, like Home From the Hill, Some Came Running, and The Cobweb. He has a particular flair for car scenes which started with his first Gothic, Undercurrent, in 1946. He gets one of the finest performances I've ever seen out of that limited actor, Charles Boyer. His scene with the gifted Paul Lukas where they mourn the deaths of their children is powerful and touching beyond words. The great disappointment, as everyone has noted, is the legendary dubbing of Ingrid Thulin by Angela Lansbury. What I find most peculiar is that I think Lansbury did not loop ALL of Thulin's dialogue, some lines sound like the voice of Thulin that I remember from The Damned and Return from the Ashes. The obvious question is: Why did M-G-M hire her if there was a problem with the voice? Didn't they test her before contract signing? In any case, the dubbing is unfortunate; her looks and performance are exquisite. My recommendation: SEE THIS GOOD, OLD FASHIONED, REALLY BIG MOVIE. P.S. Check out the magnificent, huge Andre Previn score.
  • This film has many fine qualities, some oddball aspects, and some things of interest because of how they relate to other work by the creative artists. For example, Minnelli returns to Paris location shooting as he did in 'American in Paris' and 'Gigi', but this time to re-create wartime Paris and what it was like to be part of the Resistance, as well as what life was like among the privileged Parisian collaborators who lived the good life under Nazi rule. In spite of MGM glamour and production values that must have cost a fortune, Minnelli and his screenwriters often succeed in portraying the anguish of that time, the moral crisis of privileged neutrals, and the courage of those who resisted. Credit must go to a splendid cast of Hollywood veterans and some talented newcomers. Paul Henreid shows up playing, what else?, a resistance hero. Ingrid Thulin's Swedish accent must have been too much for MGM's money men - they had her dialogue dubbed by Angela Lansbury, and pretty effectively too. One of the greatest pleasures of the film is Andre Previn's score. If you like your movie music big, complex, intrusive, and romantic, you'll agree that this score is one of the great overlooked gems of Hollywood soundtracks.

    What's bad about the movie? Glenn Ford for starters, not too believable as an Argentinian playboy. But that may just be a matter of taste.
  • Vincente Minnelli brought his aspiring "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" to the events of World War II... The new version tries to be 'more' than a war or anti-war film...

    The quality of the Argentinean family with its members fighting on both sides (French and German), revealed great nationalism in their habits of thought and expression... They arouse love and ideal even in their attitudes, interests and actions to each others... They put everything at the stake, specifically two important talents, Julio (Glenn Ford) and Heinrich (Karl Boehm), trapped in this entertaining remake of "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse."

    Karl Boehm, the ambitious Colonel Heinrich, member of the S.S. envies his cousin's independence... The dinner sequence makes it evident: When Heinrich sees his charming cousin, spending pleasant time with a beautiful woman, he warns General Von Kleig (George Dolenz), not to abuse excessively his rank as Commander of Paris in his own private interest...

    The film describes the awakening of a wealthy high-living Franco-Argentinean to his duty to France after his sister is killed by the Gestapo and his father implored him to act and do what he never did... Julio finds his manhood as a member of the French resistance during War World II.
  • In Argentina, the family man Julio Madariaga (Lee J. Cobb) is the patriarch of his family and considers his farm the paradise on Earth. One of his daughters, Luisa Desnoyers (Harriet MacGibbon), has married the Frenchman immigrant Marcelo Desnoyers (Charles Boyer) and they have one son, the playboy Julio (Glenn Ford), and one daughter, the gorgeous student of Sorbonne Chi Chi (Yvette Mimieux). His other daughter, Elena von Hartrott (Kathryn Givney), has married the German Karl von Hartrott (Paul Lukas), and they have three sons: Heinrich (Karl Boehm), Gustav and Franz.

    In 1938, Heinrich returns from Germany for a family reunion and when he tells that he has joined the SS, the displeased Julio Madariaga has a heart attack and dies. When France is occupied by the Germans, the family reunites in Paris and Franz is the Nazi administrator in France. The alienated Julio has a studio where he paints, and has a love affair with Marguerite Laurier (Ingrid Thulin), the wife of the owner of a newspaper Etienne Laurier (Paul Henreid) that is fighting in Belgium. Meanwhile Chi Chi joins the French resistance and is arrested. Julio uses the influence of his uncle Franz to release her. However, Chi Chi has an argument with Julio for his neutral position. When Chi Chi is tortured to death by Gestapo, Julio joins the resistance, using his relationship with the Germans to get inside information.

    "The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse" is an epic romance with the awakening of a playboy in times of war. The cinematography, art direction and costumes are amazing, but unfortunately the screenplay is shallow and the film is miscast in the lead role. Glenn Ford is never convincing as a French-Argentinean, and too old (46 years old) to be a playboy and son of Charles Boyer (63 years old). Further, it is ridiculous the actors and actresses speaking in English forcing accents in French, German and Spanish. I have never had the chance to see the 1921 original film to compare with this remake by Vincente Minnelli. My vote is six.

    Title (Brazil): "Os Quatro Cavaleiros do Apocalipse" ("The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse")
  • Vincente Minnelli had it right, he wanted Alain Delon for the role of French/Argentine Julio Desnoyers and he would have been perfect in the part. However MGM insisted on an American, but why Glenn Ford. Back in the late forties he was laughable in the part of Don Jose in The Loves of Carmen with Rita Hayworth. Did anyone at MGM screen that before signing him up for this expensive remake of the silent classic The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse?

    Whatever else Glenn Ford was and I'm a big fan, he just doesn't cut it as the second Rudolph Valentino.

    So besides a miscast leading man, they had their troubles with the leading lady as well. Ingrid Thulin was trying to break into the international market as fellow Swedes Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman had done before her. Her Swedish accent was way too thick and supposedly she was indecipherable in her scenes. That familiar voice you hear coming from her mouth is that of Angela Lansbury who was dubbed over Thulin's voice. Poor Ingrid still remained a star in Sweden, but never did get any international acclaim.

    The rest of the cast is made of various continental types playing French and Germans. The plot of Vincente Blasco Ibanez's original novel is updated from World War I to World War II and changes are made to accommodate the different geopolitical situation in the two wars. Best performance in the film is that of Paul Henreid who plays Thulin's husband who while he's off to war and a POW camp, she's fooling around in Paris with Ford.

    Now you can believe she'd have found Valentino irresistible, but not Glenn Ford.
  • I cannot understand the low rating of this film. I'll rather think most of the viewers haven't had the opportunity to watch this movie and the few who had, have not been able to appreciate the admirable qualities of this film. If you have not seen Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, don't wait any longer. I have it in my video library and have watched it several times.
  • Vincente Minnelli's updating of Vicente Blasco Ibanez's novel is an absorbing melodrama which, as another viewer has noted, must have been watched by Visconti before he made his film The Damned a few years later.

    The film begins with the Desnoyers family gathering for dinner following the return of Heinrich (Karl Boehm) from a spell in Germany where, to the disgust of grandfather Julio, he has been indoctrinated into the ideology of the Nazi party. The grandfather is played by Lee J. Cobb and it's a blessing that the old boy pegs it during dinner because Cobb not only chews the scenery but the sets and props as well. Despite this, the lines are clearly drawn between the two sides of the family: Heinrich and his father Karl (Paul Lukas) on one side, Julio No' 2 (Glenn Ford) and little sister Chi Chi (Yvette Mimieux) on the other.

    Julio is a playboy with no interest in the war; he prowls swish parties for available women, sidling between arguments of the impending war as he closes in on his prey. Sadly, Ford, usually a likable enough leading man, doesn't possess the necessary predatory swagger to pull of the role. In fact, he is so badly miscast that he seems to be adrift throughout the film, as if trying to figure out how he was ever chosen for the role (Minnelli wanted Alain Delon, apparently, and we can only imagine what an altogether different interpretation he would have given to the part).

    The predicament in which the Desnoyer family find themselves is wholly absorbing as the war slowly tears its members apart. Most imaginable sea-changes in personal opinions are explored during the course of the story, from the discovery of a hidden integrity on Julio's part, to disillusion on the part of Karl, the WW1 veteran who allows himself to be swept up in the triumphalism of the Nazi's rise only to find his son becoming irrevocably morally corrupted by the same experiences.

    The movie never won any awards, which is probably how it should be, but it provides an intelligent and literary exploration of a fascinating subject that makes it easy to watch despite its bloated running time.
  • A film that's always been held in a great deal of affection here in Spain (and not just because it's a Blasco Ibañez story, nor because hearing it dubbed into Spanish relieves us of Angela Lansbury). As far as I'm concerned, and pace the other reviewers, Glenn Ford's utterly convincing portrayal of Julio is by far the best thing about it. So what if he's a bit long in the tooth? a great many real-life playboys are, and his maturity makes the romantic dilemmas posed by the plot all the more poignant. From start to finish he's seriously, dangerously likeable, which he certainly needs to be in order to win the love of a beautiful, intelligent and patriotic Frenchwoman over her heroic Resistance husband. The romance actually convinces, against the odds, and saves a movie that might otherwise easily have been a ghastly flop.

    After all, what else is there? Andre Previn's music is impressively dramatic but there is a worrying lack of restraint in the score, both in the overblown intro and the pretty but intrusive "love theme" cue, complete with solo violin, which insists on being heard every time the hero and heroine so much as glance at one another. The "four horsemen" vision manages to stay just this side of Monty Python (with the aid of swirling clouds), but doesn't save the opening scenes of the film from lurching full-pelt into overplayed melodrama (the death of the patriarch Madariaga: one too many thunderclaps for a start), and doesn't tie in too well with what was eventually left in from Blasco Ibañez's tale (pestilence? famine? where?). The plot is 100% predictable, and the rest of the acting is competent without being memorable.

    I must admit, though, I was impressed by the very Minnelli-esque sequence which took Ford's eyes staring at a scene of dancing and frivolity between Nazi officers and collaborationist women, superimposing the two and mixing in newsreel-style war footage; likewise, Henreid's heartstopping portrayal, in one scene, of a man almost broken by torture, emerging from a Gestapo jail; and the finely judged acceleration at the end towards the story's predictable but satisfying climax. Not a film I will want to make a habit of seeing, but would certainly stand a second and maybe even a third viewing.
  • When I saw this during its first-run release, I was already an avid Minnelli fan but had been forewarned by the reviews that this was not one of his best. I recall enjoying it, nevertheless, and much of my pleasure was due to Minnelli's always inventive visual style, the expensive mounting in CinemaScope and Metrocolor, the interesting cast (not all of them well-chosen, especially the deadly-dull Glenn Ford, who was being assigned to what seemed like every other big budget M-G-M picture during that period), the astute use of Angela Lansbury to dub Ingrid Thulin's lines (though I'm sure that Miss Thulin's own voice, even if she had learned her lines phonetically, would have been preferable), and Andre Previn's very expressive score. (Mr. Previn came to disown a lot of his Hollywood work once he concentrated on conducting major classical orchestras, but I suspect he wouldn't have included this one among those he would prefer that we forget.) Tony Duquette's Four Horsemen figures are a striking addition to the lavish mounting of this production. It's not available on DVD (yet, anyway) and it's probably a safe bet that the VHS version is (ugh!) "formatted"...don't bother! You'll be missing the greater percentage of this film's achievement.
  • Apparently the positive comments here are largely by people who've never seen the silent version. Well, the Valentino/Ingram edition shows up on TCM from time to time and there is no comparison.

    The silent version is poetry, a dream fantasy. This is soap, earthbound, every line of dialog falling to earth with a thud. How come Lana Turner missed this one?

    The problem is not just that Glenn Ford is too corn-fed. Ingrid Thulin looks trapped and unhappy in every scene, as if she is being hammered from all sides between takes. She and Glenn Ford have zero chemistry, playing whole scenes together without even looking at each other. It's impossible to imagine this as a grand passion on any level.

    Then we have to believe Yvette Mimieux is a serious political thinker. She scowls, purses her lips and looks like she needs an Alka Seltzer. The older folks do a bit better, but only Charles Boyer and Paul Henried come off well. Paul Lukas looks tired and disoriented, and if you liked Lee J. Cobb as a boozy patriarch in "The Brothers Karamazov," you'll like him here, because it's the same performance.

    But it's almost sacrilege to use World War II as the background to this decorative exercise. Vicente Minnelli never could direct people, the actors were always on their own, but he'd get great performances out of sets, props, costumes and the color wheel.

    That's what happens here, with lots of eye candy and some stunningly inept staging. A student riot looks like a dance number minus the jazz, and there's a crucial scene with Paul Lukas trapped behind his desk and Charles Boyer at loose ends in the rest of the room that is as clumsy a piece of film-making as any major director has ever taken responsibility for.

    The film is too long, too slow, too ham-fisted, too under-energized. And then it runs down. In the last reel, Paul Frees dubs around five different characters and almost gets into an argument with himself. When Armageddon finally arrives, it's a relief.

    The project was probably doomed from the beginning, but rescue is nowhere in sight, and no one covers himself with glory. Minnelli's characteristic melancholy is contagious, and this viewer regrets a missed opportunity.

    Find the silent. It's long, but unlike this one, it pays off.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Yes, this is a flawed film, but it needs to be said that it's been quite underrated since its release, and if given a chance, the film has plenty of rewards for the open minded viewer. Indeed, Ingrid Thulin was miscast and having Angela Lansbury dub her voice only added additional strangeness to a role that should have gone to someone like Jeanne Moreau. Yet, Thulin's performance is not ineffective, and she has a number of very strong moments. Less successful is Yvette Mimieux, who could be quite good in certain types of roles. As the daughter whose passion to make a decision to take the strong political stance her father and brother will not take, Mimieux didn't have enough screen time nor the proper dialog to make it believable. Perhaps the fault here lies with MGM, that forced certain casting decisions on Vincente Minnelli, but whatever the reason, Mimieux's character was ill defined and Minnelli was unable to pull from the actress the performance needed to show her political awakening.

    On the other hand, Glenn Ford, who was also forced onto Minnelli by MGM, is far better than critics would have you believe. It's true that seeing Ford as an Argentine is a bit much to swallow, but he was a decent actor and had a likable screen persona that was the essence of his Julio character in "Four Horsemen." Julio, as a man who intends to stay neutral throughout WWII, and is someone who does not alter his position until far into the film, needs something to keep the audience interested. I found him quite appealing in his scenes with Ingrid Thulin, as they get to know each other. Although he doesn't do the tango or blow smoke through his nose like Valentino did in the original silent film, Glenn Ford managed to convey the masculine charm but shallow life choices Julio's character demanded and keeps us interested in him until his political conscience awakens.

    I have only seen parts of the silent version, and never read Vicente Blasco Ibanez' novel, so I was not comparing the film to anything it could have been but wasn't. I just saw a story that effectively portrayed how war and the Nazi party in particular, destroyed two families and ripped to shreds the love lives of three passionate people. This story was told well by film and players, with the machinations of the Nazi party, life in occupied Paris, and long held family grudges all intertwining in believable and dramatic ways.

    Equally impressive were the performances of Lee J. Cobb as Julio's Argentine grandfather, who has a very strong scene at the beginning of the film, but whose presence and legacy is felt all the way to the end; Charles Boyer, absolutely heart breaking as Julio's father; Paul Lukas, as Julio's uncle whose dedication to family or Nazi party is given the ultimate test; and Paul Henreid, as the husband of Marguerite (Ingrid Thulin's character), whose dedication to the resistance becomes not only his undoing, but that of Julio's, his rival for the love of Marguerite.

    Aside from that "Four Horsemen" is a giant production shot in Paris, rich with period atmosphere and Minnelli's attention to detail. It's beautifully photographed by Milton Krasner, and has some cleverly inserted and effective montages made up from archival footage of the war, moodily colorized with filters and stretched horizontally to fit the wide screen. I liked the look of these. I don't think dramatic recreations would have been any better.

    Like another underrated financial flop that same year, Brando's "Mutiny on the Bounty," Minnelli's "Four Horsemen" has a very downbeat ending, but in the case of "Four Horsemen" the ending is memorably spectacular. I must mention the symbolic use of the four horsemen, shown galloping through a war torn sky on a number of occasions, and used as the image that ends the film. Some have criticized this as being over the top and hardly believable, yet clearly it was never intended to be taken literally (as if anyone besides Lee J. Cobb could see this vision). Cobb's grandfather character describes the figures, which we initially see as brass figurines - from the book of revelations, Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death - that stand before the mouth of a large fireplace in the family's Argentine home. The grandfather sees the devastation of the family coming because of the events taking place in Germany, and his vision of the four riders in the sky only underscores the power of his fear. The vision is repeated for the audience's sake a few times following, and only once is it a bit clumsily handled when we see Glenn Ford's worried eyes over the imagery.

    And finally, the score by Andre Previn is one of his best, if not the best. He apparently, considered it his best. It is very much of its time, the early 60s, with strong love themes, romantic sweep and massive orchestration, but it works really well in the film. Previn's music reaches an incredible intensity in sequences showing the four horsemen, only equaled by his underscore for the onset of the German occupation of Paris. The love theme for Julio and Marguerite is lovely, but don't expect contemporary scoring here. Previn wasn't afraid of strings. This is really strong music, but be aware this score comes from a period when scores focused on melody. Contemporary scores often avoid this, so initial exposure to such forceful and upfront music in a film, can be jarring. But, please, give the music and the film itself a try. As long as you go in knowing the film has its flaws, you may find a lot to appreciate.
  • When you're watching Minnelli's work today you cannot help but thinking that he had a strong influence on Luchino Visconti's "la caditi dei degli" (1969)Actually the two movies begin the same way:a family whose members are tearing each other part because some of them go nazi.It does not matter if the scene takes place in Argentina in Minnelli's work:we find the same madness,the same baroque side and similarities abound:the old man's death echoes to that of the patriarch of the Essenbeck family in " la caduit dei degli" .Karl Boehm's character inspired Helmut Griem's one.And Ingrid Thulin is featured in both films,although she does not appear in the first thirty minutes,the best..

    The dinner scene remains impressive today:if it certainly inspired Visconti later ,itself takes probably its roots in Frank Borzague's masterwork "mortal storm" (1940),which tackled long before his two peers the subject of the family and nazism.But Minnelli added gaudy colors ,typical of the fifties melodrama ,and special effects -the four horsemen who will come back ,particularly later when chic people are dancing while war is raging outside.Actually this scene is so strong as the rest of the movie seems like a let-down afterward .All that takes place in Paris does not rise above average.The film never recaptures the intensity of its beginning,except for its very last minutes,with the final confrontation between the two cousins -it's difficult to admit,though ,that Glenn Ford and Karl Boehm are relatives.

    If a strong beginning and an effective ending make a good film ,you can say that Minnelli's extravaganza is worth a watch.It's not among his best works ,but if critic Georges Sadoul said "the first sequence is sheer aggressive bad taste" ,do not forget that "good taste" does not necessarily make great works.
  • If Vincente Minnelli is to be praised in this film, it his decision to film Ibanez' novel and to cast the fascinating Ingrid Thulin--who has contributed substantially to Bergman's early work and to Swedish theatre. No Hollywood actress could have lent credibility to this role as Ms Thulin did. It is a matter of historical tragedy that Thulin's own voice was not used and Angela Lansbury's voice was used instead.

    Lee J Cobb as the patriarch and Glenn Ford as Julio were avoidable decisions. However, the casting of Paul Henreid and Charles Boyer enhanced the film.

    What made the film rise over mediocrity? The story and Thulin. Ibanez' work is world renowned and film is a beautiful medium to capture the image of the four horsemen. Interestingly Minnelli is not able to capture the "pale" and the "red" horse on screen--the most difficult of the four horses in technicolor and decides to use smoke and clouds to distract us. According to "The Book of Revelations," the horsemen carried a bow, a sword, a balance and a great Sword. Ingmar Bergman in "the Seventh Seal" and Minnelli transforms the great sword into a scythe. But for this detail, the art direction throughout the movie was commendable.

    Erich von Stroheim Jr. was a mere Assistant Director in this work. von Stroheim's body of work in Europe is revered today and one can only speculate about the result had he directed the film instead of Minnelli. Minnelli's film has its moments--Etienne meeting his wife on his return from capture, and Etienne's confrontation with Julio. Yet the film is Hollywood's attempt at presenting a narrative without complexity for audiences who prefer to be spoonfed. Ibanez' novel is still waiting for a good director to film--Minnelli stumbled in his effort to create a masterpiece. One mistake he made was choosing Glenn Ford to play an Argentinan playboy. What a costly mistake!
  • Wanda Skutnik31 December 2002
    Although this lavish production of a Hemmingwayesque story tried very hard, the casting of the over 45 year old Glenn Ford was a big mistake. His part of an international playboy should have gone to someone in their early 30's, with a more cavalier, rakish personality. I adore Glenn Ford, but for crying out loud, he's the essence of the stalwart American man. I can only think Jimmy Stewart would have been a worse choice. Two and a half hours didn't help this movie either. With better editing, and a slight change of casting this could have been a very good movie.
  • Remake from classic silent (1921) set in WWI and directed by Fred Niblo with Rodolfo Valentino , Alan Hale , Alice Terry that is still deemed the best . This one , updated to WWII deals with an Argentinian family man patriarch named Julio Madariaga (Lee J. Cobb) who reunites his diverse members as French (Charles Boyer and his sons Glenn Ford and Yvette Mimieux) as well as German (Paul Lukas , Karl Boehn) but with the Nazi outbreak the events get worse . Some years later , in Paris the various components of the grievous family cross their destinations with tragic results . Meanwhile , in the city of lovers , the day the clocks stopped turning and the world stood still , the protagonist (Glenn Ford) falls in love with the resistance leader's (Paul Henreid) wife (Ingrid Thulin , allegedly dubbed by Angela Lansbury)

    This dramatic film is packed with an excellent cast , thrills , suspense , emotion , betrayal , a loving triangle and historical events . Complex anti-WWII story about cousins and uncles who fight on opposite sides . It depicts the tormentous period during painful Nazi invasion in Paris , including Resistance activities , Gestapo cruelties , and other sorrowful happenings . It is accompanied by a rousing and sensitive musical score by composer Andre Previn . Based on a novel by the Spanish Vicente Blasco Ibañez whose books have been adapted several times as ¨Blood and sand¨ , ¨The temptress¨ , ¨Cañas y Barro¨ and ¨Mare Nostrum¨ , among others . Glimmer cinematography by Milton Krasner , he is one of the few cameramen for whom Technicolor seems to have been invented , it includes colorist imaginary that still staggers as when appear the four riders , Pest , Hunger , War , Death . The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, called the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ to Saint John the Evangelist . Although some interpretations differ, the four riders are commonly seen as symbolizing Conquest, War, Famine and Death, respectively. The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the four horsemen are to set a divine apocalypse upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment.

    The motion picture is lavishly produced by Julian Blaustein and well directed by Vincente Minelli . Vincente was an expert on musicals , being hired by MGM for many years . After working on numerous Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland vehicles , usually directed by Busby Berkeley , Arthur Freed gave him his first directorial assignment on ¨Cabin in the sky¨ (1943), a risky screen project with an all-black cast . This was followed by the ambitious period piece , the classic ¨Meet me in St. Louis¨ (1944) whose star Judy Garland he married in 1945 . Many of his films included in every one of his movies features a dream sequence such as ¨Four horsemen of Apocalypse¨ . Employing first-class MGM technicians , including Erich Von Stroheim , Minnelli continued directing musicals as ¨The band wagon¨ (1953) , ¨Kismet¨, ¨The pirate¨ , ¨ An American in Paris¨ , ¨Brigadoon¨ as well as melodramas as ¨Some came running¨ (1958) , ¨Madame Bovary¨, ¨The sandpiper¨ and urban comedies like ¨Designing woman¨ (1957), occasionally even working on two films simultaneously . In his last average film titled ¨Nina¨ worked with his daughter Liza Minnelli . Rating ¨Four horsemen of Apocalypse ¨ : Better than average , it's a good story though sometimes falls plain , well worth watching .
  • Blasco Ibáñez wrote this novel in 1916, and the most amazing thing about the story is the description he makes of the German character which tries to dominate the rest of the world based on their "superiority" over the rest of the races. According to the characters in Blasco Ibáñez story the Germans forced this war because they were sure about their superiority over the rest and they were sure it would be an "easy" win. By changing the setting in the film from World War I to World War II this is missing. The problem with this is that by knowing how the war ended and what happened twenty years later when one reads the book one comes to the conclusion that if the Germans had learnt the lesson the tragedy of World War II could have been avoided. The film misses the irony of that conclusion.
  • One of Glenn Fords best performances. Andre Previn's musical score one of his best.

    Studio troubles, politics seemed to interfere with the production.

    I wanted it the film to be better, but still give it a 10.

    Boyer is great and so is Tuilin, in the role of the war wife. Hendric Hendicx is fine, but too small a part.

    Based on a true family I understand.

    MGM was struggling and running out of money, after Cleopatra's over runs. The music almost defines, why this is a great film, it tells us more than the camera shows, but together you receive the true gift in the performances and script.
  • I don't have advantage of viewing the original "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" in its entirety with Valentino but this one was a disaster because of the miscasting, most notably Glenn Ford playing the part of Julio Desnoyers.

    The movie follows the twists and turns of an Argentinian family with the patriarch Julio Madariaga being played by Lee J Cobb as they wend their way through World War II. It should have stopped right at Cobb's performance at the start or went directly from there to the end for me. Cobb gave a magnificent performance. I was mesmerized by it. But that was his swan song and he was gone from then on.

    Andre Previn's music was superb. It is the only thing that held it together for me. But the miscasting probably done almost exclusively by the producers killed the movie. They picked people that they thought would pull in the public. With the exception of just a few of the cast it just didn't work. We didn't get the tension of those that were for Germany and those that were against it in the family developed in the movie in a meaningful way.

    The ending was predictable. Other than Cobb's performance at the start, Andre Previn's music and the ending it reminds me of sitting down to a sumptuous dinner created by a chef only to discover that the food wasn't nearly as good as it looked. Viewer, you have been warned!
  • I have to stress that I watched this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). the second time in several years. Not having seen the infamous Valentino starring silent movie, nor read the novel, my hope for a dark brooding epic remains somewhat dashed.

    The quality on TV was fairly soft, maybe not relevant with the DVD here but it didn't help my viewing, nor the over 3 hour running time, with ads.

    What does strike one is that it's a movie that's trying to get out from its limitations; Cinemascope at the cinema at the time, with its stereo soundtrack and Metrocolour (very washy on TCM), score by Andre Previn and the best part, the lush, majestic and often attractive globe- trotting location cinematography by Milton R. Krasner, it must have been a very different beast on release.

    I mention this TV version so much as the DVD is expensive and there aren't many alternative sellers and so for many people, it may well remain their only method of viewing.

    The odd and poorly cast set of stars is well known; Glenn Ford rarely shines or engages however and one feels that there is a great story somewhere - there's also an epic and expensive feel - director Vincente Minnelli has made some fabulous films - but one has to try just too hard to glean anything from it.

    To me, this means that it just floats by and one doesn't give it the attention it deserves. I'm not saying it should be re-made, re-cast etc but my recent re-watch was a disappointing one. It's impossible for me to say if the DVD quality (even if it is any better?) would raise the overall watchability to warrant a higher score. Somewhat disappointing.
  • I think it is informative to speculate why this film fails and fails badly. It has great production values, sumptuous photography, classy music (a bit smaltzy for current times but spot on for the 1960s), and a professional cast. Lee Cobb roars, as always, and Paul Lukas and Charles Boyer play their usual European gentlemen quite nicely, and Paul Henreid is heroic. It is based on a wildly successful, classic book which led to an equally successful and admired classic silent movie.

    Okay, so far, but why does the film drag along as a meandering story which seldom engages the viewer? The stars are one possibility. A listless Glenn Ford in an anachronistic hat looks bewildered much of the time, as if he stepped onto the set of a different movie. Ingrid Thulin was somehow out of sync. Her lips and the dubbed English were well coordinated, but her expressions and body language were not quite congruent with her lines. Also, what was that sudden, powerful attraction between them? They both looked too old for it to have been pure hormones.

    A major problem is the era depicted in this film. The book and silent movie depict the time of the first World War. This purposeless Great War was the result of bumbling leaders who stumbled into a war in which their moronic generals could only slaughter soldiers by the millions. The actual history was not too different from the war in the satire, Duck Soup. No one knew how to either end the war or win it. The book and silent movie tell the story of family members from neutral Argentina who get drawn into this maw of hell. Their fates are roughly parallel to what happened to the world itself during this time. A powerful, moving existential tale.

    This 1962 film changes the era to the second World War. This was a war which gave much of the world the option of fighting or becoming a slave or being murdered. In this film one part of the family is in conquered France while the other part is in the barbaric Nazi S.S. No decision to fight or remain neutral is really available. No existential crisis. No credible conflict is evident.Thus, the films winds down to a formulaic heroic (and impossible) ending. At some point, it looks like everyone just wants to quit and go home.

    The film tries to tell a story which is out of sync with the time and situation in which it is located. Its lead players do not mesh with the other performers, nor with each other, and look lost. The film is not very good, but the big problem is that it is bewildering to consider how so much talent can go so terribly wrong.
  • I love discovering lost Cinema treasures and recently listening to a Michael Feinstein interview with acclaimed Hollywood film composer and later Classical orchestra conductor Andre Previn ,who passed away earlier this year I became interested in the 1962 film that Previn composed the score for The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.

    It intrigues me when a film with such great talent as this one as well as having an Andre Previn score ,which is dramatic and very beautiful in parts also had Vincente Minnelli as Director and a terrific cast headed by Glenn Ford bombed so disastrously . It was a very lavish production estimated to cost U.S. $6.5 million and grossed less than $2 million?

    I ordered the soundtrack then found Warner Bros Archive ,who has released so many rare movies on DVD had it in their catalogue,so of course I wanted to see it.

    I was so pleasantly surprised to find 4 Horseman is a lost treasure. It's an epic movie 153 minutes long about a wealthy Argentine family split by the allegiance of part of the family to Hitler and the Nazi party and the other members trying to stay neutral.

    The playboy son Julio Desnoyers played very effectively I thought ( critics didn't) by Glenn Ford arrives in Paris in 1938 and becomes infatuated with Marguerite Laurier played beautifully by Ingrid Thulin the famous and very beautiful Swedish film actress. Andre Previn's haunting love theme is so beautiful in that classic Golden Years of Hollywood style.

    The Apocalypse of course is Hitlers invasion of Paris in May 1940 and the loves and lives that are decimated by war when families have to choose sides some for survival some to be Patriotic and true to their faith in Liberty and freedom.

    Vincente Minnelli's sets designs and direction are superb and the costumes by Rene Hubert and Walter Plunkett are beautiful,perhaps a little out of timeline ?

    This really is a movie worth a look ,perhaps it failed because of the subject matter or bad reviews ,which it didn't deserve? It wouldn't be the first good movie for bad reviews to kill it off at the box office.

    It's perhaps a little dated and perhaps melodramatic for today's standards but so is All About Eve and that's being performed on stage in London at the moment but that's another story.

    I'm certainly glad I have an inquisitive mind and very broad taste in movies and movie music because I'm constantly rewarded when I discover buried treasure .
  • Actually this movie wasn't enough understood by audiences and also have a low ratings from IMDb's reviewers,there some weak points to discuss as the age of Julio around forty years old,that's a problem really,but the main message is about peace,still...the four horseman are the Ghosts of the war bringing suffering,looses,and pain...breaking families whose are the key reason the entire production,another good point is about french's pride,when Julio saw a lot of young french women surrounded of German officers he realize that make something to do and accept to struggles against the invaders,more when your father beg for Chi Chi's life is quite touching...and finally the final clash between two cousins on a long frozen friendship due they are in opposites sides shown how world gone wild!!!

    Resume:

    First watch: 1980 / How many: 4 / Source: TV-Cable TV-DVD / Rating: 8
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When this movie came out in 1962, I was in training for the U.S. Army. From April 1962 to Oct 1964, I served near Mainz, Germany, with the American airborne portion of the 8th Infantry Division (504, 505 and 509 Airborne units). I first saw this film sometime during 1962. That was during the Cold War – before Vietnam, and right after the Berlin Wall went up. Besides it being a World War II drama film with some action, it made an impression on me at that young age. It was about fighting against an oppressor and aggressor, and a story about a family divided by the war.

    There I was in Europe, where WWII had concluded just 17 years before. I was serving to defend a divided Germany where it's eastern half and the rest of Eastern Europe were held captive by the Soviet Union. We held maneuvers and trained along the Czech and East German borders. We had exercises with other NATO countries – British, West German and others. We jumped in Germany, Denmark and Turkey. While I was serving my country and a just cause – and was willing to die for both, deep inside I was like most other American patriots of the day. I hoped that I would never have to see battle. I hoped I would never be face- to-face with an enemy soldier when I had to either shoot to kill or be killed.

    I have since watched "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" three or four more times. Each time I saw a little something else in the film. Most obvious, of course, is the tragedy of war and destruction of a family. With this most recent viewing of the film, another aspect emerged. I think it was always there, but now it loomed large. That was that good people cannot run away or isolate themselves from a world war. Or any abomination or injustice of such a nature. By its scope, it involves the whole world. Maybe not in the direct combat, but it affects the whole of humanity.

    In this film, the family patriarch, Julio Madariaga, had tried to do just that – isolate his family from war. By leaving his native Spain for Argentina three decades or more earlier, he hoped to raise a family that could hide from the evils of war. Indeed, what father would not want his family to be safe and away from war? But, in striving thus, Madariaga secluded his family from the world and what was going on in it. Had he not done so, his daughters, their husbands and children would likely have grown up better informed and more closely aligned as a family.

    By paying attention to events taking shape in Europe, they would have known more about Adolf Hitler and the Nazi threat to peace. By watching many years ahead of the Third Reich and the war, and discussing and looking closely at the events in Europe, the family would have become more close knit and understanding. By not discussing, arguing and living their South Americanism, the two sons- in-law never overcame the strong attachments to their native countries. And, that unbroken loyalty is what first drives the German Hartrott's to embrace Nazi Germany.

    Had the old man not died of a heart attack in Argentina early in the film, he surely would have died of a broken heart by film's end at the death of all of his grandchildren.

    This still is a good anti-war film, but it's more a film about what happens when people try to ignore evil that is taking place all around them. The person of Julio Desnoyers is the link in bringing out the selfishness of avoiding help for one's fellow man. His part is exaggerated as a hedonistic character, which makes the contrast all the more vivid. The fact that he can fall for and aggressively pursue a married woman to lure her away from her husband attests to his lack of unselfish upbringing all along. Each of the characters of this plot have some interesting aspects that stand out.

    This is a powerful film with strong messages. It has a superb cast of highly acclaimed actors. Charles Boyer as Marcelo Desnoyers, Paul Lukas as Karl von Hartrott, Paul Henreid as Etienne Laurier, Lee J. Cobb as Madariaga, and Glenn Ford as Julio Desnoyers – all were excellent. Another reviewer couldn't see Ford in an Hispanic role. Well his character was part Spanish, part French and whatever else. I think he was spot on. The rest of the cast were equally good.

    According to some sources, Vincent Minelli had problems directing this film. He wanted it to be set during World War I, as was the original story and the 1921 silent film based on the book. But, I think it fits perfectly with World War II. Most people would strain to get a connection with Boyer's character failing to serve in the French Army in the previous conflict – before WW I. That would have been the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. By changing the setting to WW II, I think Hollywood made the film more familiar. I don't understand why the movie was a box office flop – unless the public couldn't stand the outcome. This film is quite different than the 1921 movie in characters and plot, especially with the love interest of Julio. And that film veered a great deal from the novel of the same title by Vincente Ibanez.

    This is a thinking person's film. It is an interesting story with strong anti-war sentiments along with powerful subplots and social commentary. It should be in any serious collection of war films.
  • tomsview13 November 2013
    In the early 60's, this movie seemed old-fashioned. The new wave of just about everything had arrived and it seemed an attempt by MGM to recapture past glories. However, 50 years later, it is no longer associated with the movies of its time that made it seem so out of touch. After a shaky start, this movie gains momentum and delivers a powerful second half.

    The story starts just before World War 2. The patriarch of an Argentine family, Julio Madariaga - The Old One - played by Lee J Cobb, holds court over his extended family. His two daughters have married Europeans: a Frenchman played by Charles Boyer, and a German played by Paul Lukas.

    The story focuses on the grandchildren, who, although born in Argentina, form allegiances with their fathers' homelands. World War 2 is played out in microcosm within the family. The German side become confirmed Nazis, while the French connection supports the Resistance.

    One hurdle the film struggles to overcome is Cobb's over-the-top performance as The Old One.

    The movie opens as The Old One demonstrates his love of life. He performs a number of frenetic, boot-stomping gaucho dances in between taking chin-dribbling slurps of wine from a gourd - he also yells a lot. Lee J Cobb was a great actor with gravitas to spare, but he blew this one, and threw the movie off balance from the start. However, just as the crew of a ship in danger of capsizing can often save the situation by jettisoning excess cargo, twenty minutes into the film, The Old One throws a tantrum, staggers out into the rain and collapses face down in the "rich, dark soil of Argentina", exiting the movie.

    Glenn Ford plays Julio Desnoyers, the favourite grandson of The Old One. Ford was cast against type, he was such a solid screen presence that he seems awkward in the earlier scenes as the feckless, politically neutral playboy, but he eventually gives the film a degree of substance as his character gains a conscience and takes a stance.

    This must have been just about the last hurrah for actors such as Charles Boyer and Paul Lukas. Paul Hendreid as Etienne Laurier virtually revisits his role as Victor Laszlo from "Casablanca".

    The film features two striking actresses, one older and one younger. Beautiful and enigmatic Swedish actress, Ingrid Thulin who played Marguerite Laurier, apparently had her voice dubbed by Angela Lansbury. If so, she did it with an accent that sounded very much like Ingrid Thulin. Chi-Chi, Julio's passionate and altruistic younger sister, was played by Yvette Mimieux, who had imprinted herself on a generation of young males when she played the nymph-like Weena in "The Time Machine".

    Despite being somewhat studio-bound, the film opens out with effective location scenes in Paris. One thing I remember reading at the time was that Parisians were taken aback with the recreation of the Germans marching past the Arc de Triomphe - the war had been over for 17 years, but memories were still raw.

    Although the film is based on a novel and a silent film, the story in both those cases involved World War 1. Some critics compare this film unfavourably with the silent version, but surely there aren't many who could sit through it these days? The 1962 version is far more enjoyable.

    The movie boasts a powerful score by Andre Previn with a gorgeous love theme. The film also has an unexpected ending. All things considered, this is a movie well worth at least one viewing.
  • I enjoyed this movie for several reasons. First it looked like it was filmed on location and I could relate to many of the scenes and realized I had been exactly where they were filming. Second thing I thought was interesting was the way the family was portrayed, loving close knit family, divided by a war, forced to chose sides. It was a good movie in that the story telling kept your interest and the characters were well developed. Some of the acting was mediocre but in the overall it was well done. The movie is rather long, 2 1/2 hours, but it passed to quickly. If you are an old movie lover or history buff you will probably enjoy this movie.
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