7.7/10
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Wooden Crosses (1932)

Les croix de bois (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, War | 17 March 1932 (France)
World War 1 begins and a young man enlists to fight for his country.

Director:

Raymond Bernard
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Pierre Blanchar ... Adjudant Gilbert Demachy
Gabriel Gabrio ... Sulphart
Charles Vanel ... Caporal Breval
Raymond Aimos Raymond Aimos ... Soldat Fouillard (as Aimos)
Antonin Artaud ... Soldat Vieublé (as Artaud A.)
Paul Azaïs ... Soldat Broucke
René Bergeron René Bergeron ... Soldat Hamel (as Bergeron)
Raymond Cordy ... Soldat Vairon (as R. Cordy)
Marcel Delaître Marcel Delaître ... Sergent Berthier (as Delaitre)
Jean Galland ... Capitaine Cruchet (as Galland)
Pierre Labry Pierre Labry ... Soldat Bouffioux, le cuistot (as Labry Pierre)
Geo Laby Geo Laby ... Soldat Belin (as Laby Géo)
René Montis René Montis ... Lieutenant Morache (as Montis)
Jean-François Martial Jean-François Martial ... Soldat Lemoine (as J.F. Martial)
Marc Valbel Marc Valbel ... Maroux (as Valbel)
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Storyline

The young and patriotic student Demachy joins the French army in 1914 to defend his country. But he and his comrades soon experience the terrifying, endless trench war in Champagne, where more and more wooden crosses have to be erected for this cannon fodder. Written by fa404748 (Gent, Belgium)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | German

Release Date:

17 March 1932 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Wooden Crosses See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pathé-Natan See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Remade as The Road to Glory (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Ave Maria
Written by Franz Schubert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Better than most modern war films and a must see
23 December 2007 | by dbborroughsSee all my reviews

Based on a biographical novel concerning life during WW1 this is included in the Raymond Bernard Box set from Eclipse (ie. Criterion). Made in 1932 the film seems to have been made years later. The technical aspects of the film are astounding. a blending of silent and sound techniques with images that foreshadow the Hollywood films of the 1940's, the war documentaries of the second world war not to mention modern films such as Saving Private Ryan and the Thin Red Line this film for the most part doesn't feel 75 years old.

The plot follows a company of men from enlistment to the end. After a slow start where the film introduces everyone and we get a feel for the characters the movie moves to the trenches and battle where we are placed into harms way with the men we have been introduced to. What follows are essentially a series of set pieces that move the men further and further in to war's nightmare. There is a sequence where the men wait in the trenches and in one bunker in particular, where they can hear the German tunneling below them to place charges which will, when detonated blow them to kingdom come. Its an unnerving sequence since the men know whats coming but are unable to do anything about it- except hope that their rotation comes before the bombs go off. The centerpiece of the film is an never ending attack, on ward and onward and onward. How could anyone do such a thing? As a title card say the attack lasted for ten days. I was exhausted by the sequence and it lasted only for twenty or so minutes. Its an amazing piece of film making.

If there is a flaw in the film its that the dialog sequences seem more Hollywood convention (if you'll allow me to say about a film made in France). The group of men are your standard bunch and they all seem to get lost. Not that it ruins the film, it doesn't, it just keeps the film from having that complete emotional connection.

Rightly considered a classic film, this is must viewing for anyone who loves the cinema.


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