This is an English language film (made in America) adapted from a novel by German author Erich Maria Remarque. The film follows a group of German schoolboys, talked into enlisting at the beginning of World War 1 by their jingoistic teacher. The story is told entirely through the experiences of the young German recruits and highlights the tragedy of war through the eyes of individuals. As the boys witness death and mutilation all around them, any preconceptions about "the enemy" and the "rights and wrongs" of the conflict disappear, leaving them angry and bewildered. This is highlighted in the scene where Paul mortally wounds a French soldier and then weeps bitterly as he fights to save his life while trapped in a shell crater with the body. The film is not about heroism but about drudgery and futility and the gulf between the concept of war and the actuality.Written by
Michele Wilkinson, University of Cambridge Language Centre, <email@example.com>
Final film of Raymond Griffith, who played the dying French soldier Gerard Duval stabbed by Paul Baumer (Lew Ayres). He had lost his voice through illness as a child. A popular silent-film star, the coming of sound meant the end of his career. See more »
When the young recruits go out on their first patrol, to string the barbed wire; the veteran uses a mallet to drive the post into the ground. While the movie went to the trouble to have the right kind of post they used it completely wrong. That post was developed by the Germans to allow them to put up barbed wire much more quietly then the Allies. The bottom portion of each post is twisted into an auger; this allowed the soldiers to simply put the post on the ground; put a rod through one of the holes in the post and screw it into the ground. This was one of innovations that the Allies copied. Both sides had listening posts near the wire on their sides to listen for infiltrators and wire crews; once detected they would be cut to pieces by machines gun or mortar fire. See more »
Man cleaning doorknob:
From the Russians?
Man cleaning doorknob:
No, from the French. From the Russians we capture more than that every day.
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Later reissues of the film mentioned that the film was an Academy Award winner in the opening credits. See more »
The silent (synchronized sound, non-dialogue) version is 133 minutes long and was restored by the Library of Congress. It was prepared for Universal's own cinemas (they were one of the last exhibitors to convert to sound) and shown in France and Australia and possibly elsewhere, but never in Britain until Sunday 23 November 2003. See more »
I was in high school when I first saw this great war film and I am now a senior, senior, citizen and have seen it a few more times. ALL QUIET remains right at the top of my list of outstanding war pictures. Here was a unique depiction of life in the trenches from an enemy point of view, a novel approach.
Lew Ayres gives a memorable performance as Paul Baumer, the sensitive German soldier, and has a fine supporting cast. The vivid battles in the trenches remain in my thought, and though they lack the technological know how of today, are indelible.
One of the most touching scenes is when Baumer kills the Frenchman in the shell hole and remorse overcomes him. Another tragic part is when his buddy is dying in the hospital and is visited by his comrades. A lighter scene is when the company has an over abundance of food due to its losses and the men become satiated. They are so comfortable that they are inclined to philosophize about the causes of war and its solution.
When Paul loses his friend, his depression grows and his death at the hands of a sniper is a fitting end to it all. The remake, with Ernest Borgnine, was satisfactory, but could not approach the quality of the original which I often find to be true.
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