A tale of the love between ambulance driver Lt. Henry and Nurse Catherine Barkley during World War I. The action takes place in Italy and the two fall in love during the war and will stop at nothing to be together. The film also analyses Lt. Henry's feelings on war and the purpose of fighting. Written by
Josh Pasnak <email@example.com>
Censorship problems arose from early versions of the script, which included phases of Catherine's actual childbirth and references to labor pains, gas, her groaning and hemorrhaging. After these were removed, the MPPDA approved the script, and even issued a certificate for re-release in 1938 when the censorship rules were more strictly enforced. Still, the film was rejected in British Columbia and in Australia, where Hemingway's book was also banned. See more »
A night attack is shown. During World War I there was very little flying at night and the night attacks that did occur were limited to big cities. It was almost impossible for a plane to attack specific targets in a large city, so effectively attacking people on a road in the dark was not possible, and did not happen. See more »
When this version of A Farewell to Arms came out, Ernest Hemingway hated this film. They turned his novel and put too much emphasis on the romance angle. When Papa Hemingway said that he obviously did not know Hollywood well at all. If he did just knowing Frank Borzage directed this film should have told him something. Borzage did a whole slew of tender romantic stories in the Thirties like Three Comrades, The Mortal Storm, stuff like that. A Farewell to Arms is definitely in keeping with that tradition.
The one thing that Hemingway did like was the casting of Gary Cooper as the hero Fredric Henry. He and Coop became fast friends right up to when they both died in 1961. He saw in Cooper the ideal Hemingway hero and when Paramount acquired the rights to For Whom the Bells Toll, Hemingway insisted it be done with Cooper or nobody.
Cooper and Helen Hayes made a tender romantic couple in the Borzage tradition, probably more Borzage than Hemingway. But Adolph Zukor and Paramount also knew what sold movie tickets and Paramount was having a lot of financial troubles at this time. The studio nearly went under during the Depression. But Paramount's saviors turned out to be Bing Crosby, Mae West, and Cecil B. DeMille who returned to the studio he helped found.
Helen Hayes made several good films in the early thirties, this one and the one she won an Oscar for, The Sins of Madelon Claudet. But she never became a movie box office draw so she returned to the Broadway stage where she reigned as a Queen.
Adolphe Menjou replete with Italian accent plays Cooper's friend and romantic rival, Major Rinaldi. Menjou was great at playing both American and continental types. Soon he would sign a long term contract with MGM and gain his greatest roles during the sound era.
Hemingway purists might shun A Farewell to Arms, but those who love their screen romances, soggier the better will rave about this film.
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