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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Three Comrades, a story of three men and the girl who marries one of them and the bleak future they face in post World War I Germany, is a tender a touching story brought to the screen by some great talents. You can't do too much better than an Erich Maris Remarque novel and a screenplay by none other than F. Scott Fitzgerald. The whole thing is directed by Frank Borzage who is a master at directing tender romances.
Erich Maria Remarque is better known for writing All Quiet on the Western Front. That story is about a group of young men who enlist in the German Army in World War I and the illusions that are quickly shattered with military service at the Western Front. Three Comrades essentially picks up where All Quiet on the Western Front leaves off. The characters played by Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone, and Robert Young could easily be those same kids grown up now, three survivors of those who marched to war in 1914-1915.
These are working class people who just want to get back to civilian life. They want to go in business together, a car repair garage seems the thing, taking advantage of something useful the military taught them.
All react differently to the war. Robert Taylor finds the girl of his dreams in Margaret Sullavan and their love makes them both forget or at least put on the back burner, the horror of World War I. Robert Young is an idealist who still looks for a cause to believe in and finds it in some of the left wing parties of the Weimar Republic. Franchot Tone acts like an older brother figure to both Taylor and Young. He's cynical, but not bitter. He wants a life of peace, but as we see in the film, he's quite capable of using his military training to exact some revenge. Tone's performance in fact is the best in the film.
I won't say more, except that for two of the protagonists things end tragically. For which two, buy or rent the film. The Nazis are there also, their movement is just getting started. In 1938 with the Nazis in power in Germany, the audience knew what the two surviving protagonists did not, that their worst fears are realized.
As we see the two survivors, accompanied by the ghostly apparitions of their dead comrades, the future is bleak and uncertain. The audience hopes that both survivors are in a place of refuge and peace, as unlikely as that might be.
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