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, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Zasu Pitts was originally cast as Mrs. Bäumer (mother of Lew Ayres' character Paul Bäumer). Only the preview audience saw the version with Pitts. Because she was more known for comedy, the audience reportedly began laughing when Pitts appeared onscreen. Consequently all her scenes were re-shot, with Pitts being replaced by Beryl Mercer. Contrary to long-standing rumor, she did not appear in the silent version of this film that was simultaneously produced and released for theaters not yet wired for sound; nor does she appear in the international sound version. However, she DOES appear briefly in the original 1930 trailer for the silent version, a scene of her in bed. See more »
When the young recruits go out on their first patrol, to add to the barb wire entanglement; 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 »
"All Quiet on the Western Front" is important filmmaking that still rings true today. The film deals with World War I combat through the eyes of the enemy (the Germans). For the first time ever it was realized how heartbreaking war really is, for all involved. One key message within the film is that innocence cannot survive on the battlefield. War is an awful thing that has no true winners, just losers. Brilliant performances from all involved make the film believable and accurate for the most part. A very young Lew Ayres is the best as his story creates tension for the entire film. This is perhaps the first film that proved that the cinema could be a truly imperative medium. The film was scorned by many in the U.S. as some thought that showing the Germans as sympathetic characters was in poor taste. Germans hated the film because of its anti-war message. Hitler was about to become a world power and he wanted all Germans to be excited and enthusiastic about combat. This film goes against those ideals. The Academy was brave enough and smart enough to award the film with the Best Picture Oscar in 1930 and Lewis Milestone became the first multiple Oscar winner in the directing category. "All Quiet on the Western Front" has the storyline of Malick's "The Thin Red Line" and the action and drama of Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan". An overwhelming film experience. 5 stars out of 5.
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