Cavalcade (1933)

Every time I sit down to watch a new Best Picture winner, I say to myself that the worse has to be over, right? Well, much to my surprise, there are still a handful of duds left, and Cavalcade is one of them. 

This 1933 winner focuses on the lives of two families who suffer through what appears to an endless list of tragedies from New Year’s Eve 1899 to New Year’s Eve 1933. Cavalcade was meant to be a time capsule, incorporating major events over the first 33 years of the new century. 

I have to admit, if I wanted a history lesson, I would have chosen a different movie. You can’t blame the film for being released way back in the day. However, I can blame the writers for giving me one of the most boring history lessons I’ve ever seen. 

The major events covered in this black and white film included the Second Boer War, Queen Victoria’s death, the Titanic sinking, and World War I. The last two events, Titanic and the Great War claimed a handful of the characters’ lives. These moments force the family to close out the movie, reminiscing about the past and celebrating their fuel. 

Cavalcade is the second lowest-rated Best Picture on IMDb for those keeping track at home, producing a 5.8 rating, just one-tenth of a point higher than The Broadway Melody at 5.7. Now that I have seen both, I can understand the dislike for these early winners. 

I understand that Cavalcade was captivating at its release in 1933, but to sit back and watch it in 2021, well, some material just doesn’t age well. I appreciate the efforts that went into such a historical film, yet I’ve been spoiled time and time again with better stories, effects, and characters worth caring about. 

Trust me when I say, don’t believe any of the hype surrounding this film. This is not the 1930s anymore, and Cavalcade will be an utter waste of your time. 1/10

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