One of John Ford’s last silent films, Four Sons is set in both Germany and the US, as an aging German mother sends her oldest son off to America just before the outbreak of World War I. Her anguish as her children are drafted is doubled by the news that their older brother has joined the opposing army. Ford skillfully alternates between the mother’s increasing isolation and grief at home and the fury of the battlefield. The film reveals the influence of Murnau: Ford used the sets built for Sunrise and indulges in several remarkable traveling shots.
Live musical accompaniment by Robert Humphreville