7.8/10
838
16 user 18 critic

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 »

Director:

Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The lives of numerous people over the course of 20 years in 19th century France, weaved together by the story of an ex-convict named Jean Valjean on the run from an obsessive police inspector, who pursues him for only a minor offense.

Director: Raymond Bernard
Stars: Harry Baur, Charles Vanel, Paul Azaïs
1732 Høtten (1998)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

På det lille stedet Høtten ble det for seks måneder siden begått et seksualdrap på 13 år gamle Katarina. Nå er det skjedd et nytt dødsfall - en av de to brødrene som mistenkes for det ... See full summary »

Director: Karin Julsrud
Stars: Reidar Sørensen, Jon Øigarden, Gaute Skjegstad
The Red Head (1932)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: Julien Duvivier
Stars: Harry Baur, Robert Lynen, Louis Gauthier
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily ... See full summary »

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Stars: Fritz Kampers, Gustav Diessl, Hans-Joachim Möbis
David Golder (1931)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

David is a poor but ambitious Polish Jew who reinvents himself as a powerful New York business magnate. After gaining wealth, he relocates to Paris, only to have his selfish and demanding wife squander his fortune.

Director: Julien Duvivier
Stars: Harry Baur, Paule Andral, Jackie Monnier
L'inhumaine (1924)
Adventure | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Claire Lescot is a famous prima donna. All men want to be loved by her. Among them is the young scientist Einar Norsen. When she mocks at him, he leaves her house with the declared ... See full summary »

Director: Marcel L'Herbier
Stars: Jaque Catelain, Léonid Walter de Malte, Philippe Hériat
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Ishikawa, a newspaper journalist, unexpectedly meets Asako, a woman who used to work for his company some time ago as a phone operator. Three years ago, she accidentally heard the voice of ... See full summary »

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Yôko Minamida, Hideaki Nitani, Nobuo Kaneko
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In Tokyo in 1888, Kikunosuke Onoue, the adoptive son of an important actor, discovers that he is praised for his acting only because he is his father's heir, and that the troupe complains ... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Shôtarô Hanayagi, Kôkichi Takada, Ryôtarô Kawanami
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A charming scoundrel reflects on his exploits, from childhood through to manhood.

Director: Sacha Guitry
Stars: Sacha Guitry, Marguerite Moreno, Jacqueline Delubac
César (1936)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Honoré Panisse is dying, cheerfully, with friends, wife, and son at his side. He confesses to the priest in front of his friends; he insists that the doctor be truthful. But, he cannot ... See full summary »

Director: Marcel Pagnol
Stars: Raimu, Pierre Fresnay, Orane Demazis
Edit

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)
Edit

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

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 March 1932 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Hölzerne Kreuze  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Edited into The Road to Glory (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Ave Maria
by Franz Schubert
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The best forgotten classic I've ever seen
4 September 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Comments on this film are bound to centre around comparisons to All Quiet On the Western Front - reasonably enough, since Wooden Crosses was specifically made as a rival to that film. It isn't as engrossing as Milestone's classic, perhaps because it never really characterises the soldiers strongly enough, and also because it lacks the variety of incident which makes All Quiet so entertaining despite its grim subject matter and episodic structure.

But both these flaws are also strengths: Bernard's skill in conveying the de-humanising effects of war, as well as the sheer repetitious tedium of the ordinary soldier's experience, lend to his film a bitterness and realism which its - occasionally naive - American predecessor lacked. There are one or two scenes in this film so bitter and horrifying that no war film matched them until at least the 1950s.

For this reason, the film may find more sympathy with today's audiences, who - after Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, The Thin Red Line, Jarhead etc - expect a war film to immerse them in sheer violent futility for two hours, and are likely to regard lack of incident as a mark of authenticity.

This film is nothing if not authentic (the cast was made up entirely of war veterans), and the documentary realism of the battle scenes was a real shock to me. Complaints that, unlike most war films, it makes no reference to the wider context of the war, are understandable...but I think they miss the point. The film is indeed a violent mess: what else must it have felt like for the men in the trenches? Wooden Crosses faithfully plays out Lew Ayres' famous speech from All Quiet (maybe paraphrasing here): 'We live in the trenches and we fight. We try not to get killed. That's all.'

I thought I already knew how inventive and daring early '30s film-makers were, but just on the strength of this film (haven't watched Les Miserables yet...) Bernard deserves to stand with the best of them - Lang, Milestone, Vidor, Eisenstein. The lyrical beauty of so many of the images in Wooden Crosses, and the intense horror of some others, left me gaping in disbelief at the screen, and will always stay with me. Perhaps because it's 76 years old, and because it's such an unsung pioneer, this film makes me revert to clichés and superlatives. But it really is one of the very best war films ever made.


21 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Artaud's Role? rnmackenzie
Discuss Les croix de bois (1932) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?