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A love story centered around the lives of three young German soldiers in the years following World War I. Their close friendship is strengthened by their shared love for the same woman who is dying of tuberculosis. Written by
Herman Seifer <email@example.com>
Tender romance with post-World War I background...
All the troubles that were brewing in Germany are vaguely realized by MARGARET SULLAVAN, ROBERT TAYLOR, FRANCHOT TONE and ROBERT YOUNG in this film version of Erich Maria Remarque's novel about three comrades and their relationship with a lovely girl.
Given the essentials of the plot, which has the girl dying of tuberculosis but wanting to marry the man of her dreams (ROBERT TAYLOR) when urged to do so by one of his comrades (FRANCHOT TONE), there's a tendency for the story to become a bit mawkish and sentimental before it reaches its sad ending.
What saves the film from banality are the touching performances of all concerned, especially MARGARET SULLAVAN as the doomed young woman. She is earnest and touching and fully deserved her Academy Award nomination. ROBERT TAYLOR is gentle and sincere as the man she gives her love to.
It's directed in leisurely fashion by Frank Borzage and it's slow in the telling, which may discourage fans not too fond of weepies from the '30s era. It holds up pretty well but is nowhere as effective as MGM's THE MORTAL STORM in which Sullavan and Young also participated. That was a much stronger drama dealing more directly with the threat of Nazism, while THREE COMRADES strives only to be a tender romance with the tension of what was to come only implied rather than shown.
Trivia note: F. Scott Fitzgerald has one of his rare screen credits as co-author of the screenplay at a time when he was lured to Hollywood but found little success there.
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