Paul Baumer is a young German who, along with his graduating high school classmates, enlist in the German Imperial Army during the First World War. Originally thinking war would be a great adventure, Paul and his friends discover exactly the opposite as the war drags on and one by one the members of the class are killed in action until only Paul remains. Written by
Anthony Hughes <email@example.com>
In the scene of Kaiser Wilhelm pinning medals on the soldiers, the Kaiser uses only his right arm and hand, while an aide holds the soldiers' tunics - a nice historically accurate detail, since the real Kaiser Wilhelm had a stunted and withered left arm that was virtually useless. See more »
In the scene of Kaiser Wilhelm pinning medals on the soldiers, the battalion is at "Present Arms". In the very next scene, the battalion is at "Attention" (rifle butts resting on the ground), without the command "Order Arms" having been given. See more »
[to a dying Frenchman]
If we threw away the guns, the grenades - we could have been brothers, but they never want us to know that.
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The film is an excellent remake. Though in some ways it doesn't live up to the 1930 original, there are some other ways in which I think it is more effective. I particularly like the portrayals of Himmelstoss and Kat; Ernest Borgnine is outstanding in his role. Changes to the original are minor - Paul, for example, as an artist, drawing a bird in the final scene rather than reaching for a butterfly - and do not in any way detract from the power of Remarque's story.
Although the film, as released on video, is very good, it could still be made better...because...
I taped the program off of CBS when it ran on the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" in 1979 or 1980. The commercially available version leaves out some scenes which aired in the original broadcast. Himmelstoss, for example, DID appear as the postman in a street scene as the boys leave school. Unfortunately, this was apparently cut when the film was released on video. This film is actually somewhat better in its original, on-air form than on video...and if anyone associated with the current production rights read this, PLEASE restore it! After 22 years, the quality of my recording is declining markedly, but I don't want to lose the narrative quality of the film.
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