Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The (1921)
Produced and directed by Rex Ingram. Written by June Mathis from the eponymous book by Vicente Blasco-Ibanez. Photography, John F. Seitz. Editing, Grant Whytock .
Art direction, Joseph Calder, Amos Myers. Restored version, Kevin Brownlow, David Gill. New music by Carl Davis. A Metro Pictures Corporation film. 134 minutes (150 for Spanish version)
In the New Testament's Book of Revelation, the four Horsemen are allegories for war's disasters. Spanish writer Vicente Blasco-Ibanez published a hugely successful anti-war novel during WWI, "Los Cuatro Jinetes del Apocalipsis." It was adapted for the screen in 1921 Rudolph Valentino, who had been in many movies but in minor roles, was cast as one of four brothers in opposing armies in the 1921 screen adaptation. His fame and career skyrocketed and kept increasing with the next pictures, notably The Sheik, Blood and Sand (also from a Blasco-Ibanez novel), the Eagle, and his last film, The Son of the Sheik (1926). He died in 1926. The pacifist Four Horsemen is a powerful, very well crafted, spectacular movie, not a classic perhaps but a must for hard-core cinephiles and film historians. This silent is now enhanced by the music of the best of today's composers for add-on sound-tracks, the American-in-England Carl Davis.
Note: Blasco-Ibanez's novel was remade in Hollywood by Vincente Minelli in 1961, transposed to World War II. Another of his famous novels, "Blood and Sand," was made into a movie in Spain (1916,) in the U.S.A in 1922, starring Rudolph Valentino; also in Hollywood in 1941, directed by Rouben Mamoulian, starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell amd Rita Hayworth. Then came an American (20th Century Fox) and Spanish co-production in 1989. It was poorly received and hardly shown in the U.S.A. All involved in that movie, from players to crews, were Spanish, save for the top listed Americans, Christopher Rydell and Sharon Stone.