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The Road Back (1937)

Approved | | Drama, War | 1 June 1937 (USA)
After World War I, a group of former German soldiers try to adjust to civilian life.

Director:

James Whale

Writers:

Charles Kenyon (screenplay), Erich Maria Remarque (novel) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John 'Dusty' King ... Ernst (as John King)
Richard Cromwell ... Ludwig
Slim Summerville ... Tjaden
Andy Devine ... Willy
Barbara Read ... Lucy
Louise Fazenda ... Angelina
Noah Beery Jr. ... Wessling
Maurice Murphy ... Albert
John Emery ... Captain Von Hagen
Etienne Girardot ... Mayor
Lionel Atwill ... Prosecutor
Henry Hunter Henry Hunter ... Bethke
Larry J. Blake ... Weil (as Larry Blake)
Gene Garrick ... Giesicke
Marilyn Harris ... Maria - Ernst's Sister
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Storyline

At the end of the world war, several German soldiers return home to their city to find the social fabric and civil order disintegrating as communist gangs roam the streets and food and jobs become scarce. Riots and massacres lead the erstwhile average men to become cynical and desperate. Written by WesternOne

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 June 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Road Back See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Stuntman George Daly was killed in an accidental explosion while filming a stunt for this picture. See more »

Connections

Referenced in She's Alive! Creating the Bride of Frankenstein (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Mademoiselle from Armentieres
(1919) (uncredited)
Music by Joseph Tunbridge
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pretty great neglected Whale
25 March 2015 | by marcslopeSee all my reviews

Saw this at what is now presumed to be the final Cinefest, a Syracuse festival of old films that never get shown, and it was a highlight. An antiwar epic that was Whale's followup to "Show Boat," and two more different films can't be imagined, it's an impassioned look at the last days of World War 1 from the Germans' perspective, and the aftermath. Whale worked from a good screenplay by R.C. Sheriff (he'd also filmed Sheriff's "Journey's End" years before), and the war sequences are quite stunning. What hurts the film is some probably studio-imposed comic relief in the second half, undercutting the strong drama, and a leading man, John King, who simply wasn't up to it. But there's an excellent supporting cast, including Slim Summerville, whose role is partly but not entirely comic, and who shows subtleties his comic performances couldn't contain. Other unexpected people turn up, like Louise Fazenda and Dwight Frye, and the third act allows for some fine antiwar sermonizing that's still pertinent. It's superbly designed and directed, and one wishes it could be shown more.


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