Long though lost, Four Sons reemerged in the 1960s, proving anew that the silent films of director John Ford were every bit as accomplished as his talkies. More "Germanic" in tone and texture than later Ford films, Four Sons is the story of the Bernle family of Bavaria. Mother Bernle (Margaret Mann) dotes upon her four sons Joseph (James Hall), Johann (Charles Morton), Franz (Francis X. Bushman Jr.) and Andres (George Meeker), but is powerless in guiding their destinies. When WW I breaks out, her sons march off to the front: one of the boys fights for the AEF, the others for the Kaiser. The film's most poignant sequence takes place on the battlefield, when one of the sons stumbles upon his mortally wounded brother. Though the dying man's plaintive cries are heard on the Fox Movietone soundtrack, the scene itself is effectively played in pantomime. An updated version of Four Sons, wherein the locale was switched from Bavaria to Czechoslovakia, was filmed in 1940, starring Don Ameche, Alan Curtis, Robert Lowery and George Ernest.
by Hal Erickson synopsis