7.8/10
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Les croix de bois (1932)

The young and patriotic student Demachy joins the French army in 1914 to defend his country. But he and his comrades soon experience the terrifying, endless trench war in Champagne, where ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Adjudant Gilbert Demachy
Gabriel Gabrio ...
Sulphart
...
Caporal Breval
Raymond Aimos ...
Soldat Fouillard (as Aimos)
...
Soldat Vieublé (as Artaud A.)
Paul Azaïs ...
Soldat Broucke
René Bergeron ...
Soldat Hamel (as Bergeron)
...
Soldat Vairon (as R. Cordy)
Marcel Delaître ...
Sergent Berthier (as Delaitre)
...
Capitaine Cruchet (as Galland)
Pierre Labry ...
Soldat Bouffioux, le cuistot (as Labry Pierre)
Geo Laby ...
Soldat Belin (as Laby Géo)
René Montis ...
Lieutenant Morache (as Montis)
Jean-François Martial ...
Soldat Lemoine (as J.F. Martial)
Marc Valbel ...
Maroux (as Valbel)
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Storyline

The young and patriotic student Demachy joins the French army in 1914 to defend his country. But he and his comrades soon experience the terrifying, endless trench war in Champagne, where more and more wooden crosses have to be erected for this cannon fodder. Written by fa404748 (Gent, Belgium)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

17 March 1932 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Hölzerne Kreuze  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Referenced in The Rats (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Ave Maria
by Franz Schubert
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User Reviews

 
Good, but not a forgotten masterpiece
13 October 2008 | by (Worcester, MA) – See all my reviews

"Wooden Crosses" has often drawn comparisons to "All Quiet Along the Western Front", which is not entirely inaccurate but not really fair at the same time. They both deal with similar themes, but "Western Front" presents them with a lot more depth. Maybe its because I've seen so many war-is-hell pictures (most of which admittedly came after this), but "Wooden Crosses" isn't as powerful as I expected it to be. Mainly, the characters all seemed to be archetypes for this kind of story. There really isn't anything to distinguish between the men in the focus infantry. The often over-the-top acting (surprisingly, the worst offender is one of my favorite authors Antonin Artaud in a rare acting role) doesn't help. These characters never felt real or particularly deep for me. Again, maybe its because this formula has been used so constantly since, but the film hasn't aged well.

Still, it is very worthwhile just because Raymond Bernard is a fantastic director. There are several shots in the film which are particularly stunning. The real merit of the film lies in the battle sequences themselves. Even if he was unable to make me care for the various characters, his presentation of the battlefield is simply harrowing. Amazingly large in a scope missing from most American films of the time, these sequences are also shockingly violent and completely put the viewer in a seemingly inescapable hell. It's no doubt the film was very well regarded in France when originally released. If only Bernard had developed some more interesting characters, the film could have been a masterpiece. Even in its present form, its still worth watching. (7/10)


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