7.7/10
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17 user 19 critic

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

Featured in The Road to Glory (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Ave Maria
Written by Franz Schubert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I say it again:horror is timeless.
28 July 2005 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

The precedent user wrote that he saw old men crying while watching this film.Such is the strength of these pictures.Raymond Bernard's movie compares favorably with "All quiet on the western front" (Lewis Milestone)"Westfront 1918" (Pabst) or even more recent works such as "paths of glory" .

Bernard 's approach (transferring a best-seller for the screen) was almost documentary.We know almost nothing about the three leads.The intermixing of the social classes (there is a baker,a worker and a law student)was not,as it has often been mooted,the main subject -as it was in Renoir's "la grande illusion" - of "les croix de bois" .Its purpose is,as the precedent user wrote,to show that horror is timeless.

"If you do not get the military Cross ,you'll get the wooden cross " the soldiers sing.The prologue tells it all: ranks of soldiers become ranks of crosses.In "J'accuse"(Abel gance,1938),a soldier says that pretty soon there will not be enough wood to make crosses for the graveyards.

Admirable sequences:

-A soldier is singing a peaceful "Ave Maria" in a church but a terrifying camera movement reveals an improvised hospital with disabled soldiers .

-A dead soldier has received a letter.One of his mates lays it down on his grave with a rose.

-The central battle scene which lasts about 15 minutes.On the screen ,a line appears "it lasted ten days" ,then another one "ten days" ,then in large characters "TEN DAYS".

-The soldiers taking refuge in a graveyard (!) where one of them (Charles Vanel) is dying, cursing again and again his unfaithful wife,then breathing his forgiveness.

-The student's death ,with death rattles and cries of terror all around him (I want my mum!I do not wanna die!).The ending does not use any music,which was rare at the time, and it increases tenfold strength and emotion.

After watching this movie on TV,in 1962, a WW1 old campaigner committed suicide.It speaks volumes about the strength of these pictures.


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