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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A Double Rarity: A Good Remake & A Good Made For TV Movie
This version may not be as good as its great predecessor, but it's definitely a fine show on its own. Richard Thomas is very good, if about ten years too old, as the central character, Paul Baumer, who grows from glory seeking school boy to crusty veteran to, finally disillusioned, weary, almost hopeless pawn. Ernest Borgnine is terrific as Kat, the cagey survivor, who takes the youngsters under his wing, teaching them ways to make trench warfare almost tolerable. Ian Holm has a nice turn as Paul's town's postman turned training NCO, who later is transferred to the trenches. The great actress, Patricia Neal, shines in a cameo as Paul's mother. Donald Pleasance is excellent as Paul's patriotic teacher who exhorts Paul and his classmates to enlist. Gradually the grinding attrition of war eliminates Paul's classmates and the old sweats, until the famous final scene, when so little happened that day that the war entry was "All quiet on the Western Front." Most of the scenes in the original are presented here, a few additions and a couple deletions. The color cinematography is nicely done. Well worth a look as either a comparison or companion to the 1930 original.
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