7.1/10
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14 user 8 critic

Four Sons (1928)

Passed | | Drama, War | 13 February 1928 (USA)
A family saga in which three of a Bavarian widow's sons go to war for Germany and the fourth goes to America, Germany's eventual opponent.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Philip Klein (adapted by), I.A.R. Wylie (story) (as Miss I.A.R. Wylie)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Margaret Mann ... Mother Bernle
James Hall ... Joseph - Her Son
Charles Morton ... Johann - Her Son
Francis X. Bushman Jr. ... Franz - Her Son
George Meeker ... Andreas - Her Son
June Collyer ... Annabelle
Earle Foxe ... Major von Stomm
Albert Gran ... The Postman
Frank Reicher ... The Schoolmaster
Archduke Leopold of Austria Archduke Leopold of Austria ... A Captain
Ferdinand Schumann-Heink Ferdinand Schumann-Heink ... A Staff Sergeant
Jack Pennick ... The Iceman
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Storyline

In Burgendorf, Bavaria, Mother Bernle has four sons. Franz is in the army, Johann works at the forge, Andreas tends the sheep. Joseph is riding a hay wagon with a pretty girl when some of the hay falls off, landing on the fearsome Maj. Von Stomm. Joseph gets a slap from the major... The jovial postman has brought a letter from America. Joseph has the offer of a job in the States. But getting there is so expensive... It's Mother Bernle's birthday and most of the town gathers for the dancing. Mother gives Joseph the money she has secreted away. He leaves for the USA... It is "Der Tag", The Day when war is declared. Franz and Johann are excited about their new uniforms. But America is still neutral. Joseph runs the German-American Delicatessen with his new wife Annabelle. The reports of the first German battles with the Russians are good. So why does the postman carry a black-edged letter for Mother Bernle? When America does enter the war, Joseph enlists and meets his friend, the iceman ... Written by David Steele

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BIG AS THE HEART OF HUMANITY! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 February 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cuatro hijos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Movietone) (musical score and sound effects)| Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For the sinewy role of Major von Stomm, Photoplay Magazine reported that Earle Foxe lost 15 pounds, wore a corset, and had to have his head shaved. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where the mother is feeding the little girls in front of the house it is raining, even though the sun is shining bright, an obvious use of the studios rain machine. See more »

Quotes

The Schoolmaster: Books, Herr Postman, are friends that never deceive,
See more »

Connections

Remade as Four Sons (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

When Johnny Comes Marching Home
(1863) (uncredited)
Written by Louis Lambert
Played when the war ends
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ford Arms to Hold You
5 June 2010 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

In Germany, at the dawn of World War I, widow Margaret Mann (as Frau Bernle) is blessed with "Four Sons" - strapping soldier Francis X. Bushman Jr. (as Franz), dreamy rustic James Hall (as Joseph), handsome metalworker Charles Morton (as Johann), and fair-haired shepherd George Meeker (as Andreas). And, she makes the best honey-cakes in Bavaria. With one son serving the Fatherland, and two more about to join him on the battlefield, Ms. Mann arranges for adventurous Mr. Hall to emigrate to democratic America. There, he opens a delicatessen and marries sweet, beautiful June Collyer (as Annabelle). Eventually, the Great War results in multiple brother tragedies, testing old mother Mann's ability to count her blessings.

The last years of the "silent film" era produced an avalanche of stunning motion pictures; in hindsight, you wonder if the "talkie" might have prevented the silent from advancing even beyond its late 1920s peak. "Four Sons" is another artful example, with John Ford and his picturesque cameramen, George Schneiderman and Charles C. Clarke, directing under the influence of F.W. Murnau - the combination produced a winning film, full of memorable scenes and images. Ford's best symbolic double whammy has two white birds flying to heaven, followed by postman Albert Gran hurling stoning the church's reflection. The restored print looks lovely, but lacks the original's innovative "synchronized sound effects" track, which will hopefully turn up somewhere.

The film won the "Best Picture" of 1928 medal from "Photoplay" and placed #4 on the annual "Film Daily" honor roll.

********* Four Sons (2/13/28) John Ford ~ Margaret Mann, James Hall, George Meeker, Charles Morton


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