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A Farewell to Arms (1957)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 14 December 1957 (USA)
An English nurse and an American soldier on the Italian front during World War I fall in love, but the horrors surrounding them test their romance to the limit.

Directors:

Charles Vidor, John Huston (uncredited)

Writers:

Ben Hecht (screenplay), Ernest Hemingway (novel) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rock Hudson ... Lt. Frederick Henry
Jennifer Jones ... Catherine Barkley
Vittorio De Sica ... Major Alessandro Rinaldi
Oskar Homolka ... Dr. Emerich (as Oscar Homolka)
Mercedes McCambridge ... Miss Van Campen
Elaine Stritch ... Helen Ferguson
Kurt Kasznar ... Bonello
Victor Francen ... Colonel Valentini
Franco Interlenghi ... Aymo
Leopoldo Trieste ... Passini
José Nieto ... Major Stampi (as Jose Nieto)
Georges Bréhat Georges Bréhat ... Captain Bassi (as Georges Brehat)
Johanna Hofer Johanna Hofer ... Mrs. Zimmerman
Eduard Linkers Eduard Linkers ... Lieutenant Zimmerman
Eva Kotthaus ... Delivery Room Nurse
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Storyline

Frederick Henry, an American serving as a volunteer ambulance driver with the Italian forces in the First World War, is wounded and falls in love with his attending nurse, the British Catherine Barkley. In the midst of war and some intrigue, the pair struggles to stay together and to survive the horrors around them. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

14 December 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adiós a las armas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,353,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's original director, John Huston, was fired after clashing with producer David O. Selznick. Cinematographer Oswald Morris quit after Selznick claimed Rock Hudson was being favored over his wife, Jennifer Jones. See more »

Goofs

In the café while Catherine is in hospital, Frederick is shown placing the sugar cubes on the table, with three already there and his hand moving to place there the fourth one. Camera cuts to a different angle and there are suddenly five sugar cubes on the table. Later in the same scene, after he flattens the sugar cubes with his hand, the position of his hand (and sugar cubes) changes instantly and he's holding one sugar cube that he wasn't holding a split second before. See more »

Quotes

Major Alessandro Rinaldi: She's very strange, very moody, who knows she might even prefer you to me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Producer David O. Selznick tries to imitate the opening credits of his classic film, "Gone With The Wind", by having the letters of the title "A Farewell to Arms" sweep slowly across the screen from right to left. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Carole Lombard (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Unique Problems Of Hemingway And Selznick
25 September 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

A lot of people are being terribly unfair to this production of A Farewell To Arms. Not that it's a great film, it misses that by a good distance, but that even films that are the best adaptations of Ernest Hemingway's work fall far short for Hemingway purists. And David O. Selznick was far from a Hemingway purist.

No Selznick when it came to the career of his wife Jennifer Jones lost all kinds of sense of balance. Another reviewer was quite right, Jean Simmons, Joan Collins, Elizabeth Taylor all would have made acceptable Catherine Barkleys.

One thing also to remember that we're not even starting out with pure Hemingway to begin with. Both this version and the 1932 version that starred Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes are not just based on the novel, they are based on a play that was adapted from the novel by Laurence Stallings who wrote What Price Glory. The play ran for 30 performances in 1930 and starred Glenn Anders and Elissa Landi on Broadway. I suspect the Depression had a lot to do with the closing as it did many shows that year.

Originally John Huston was slated to direct and he had directed Jones in both We Were Strangers and Beat The Devil with little or no interference from Selznick. But Selznick fired Huston and replaced him with Charles Vidor because allegedly too much attention was paid to Rock Hudson and not enough to Jennifer.

That's ironic as all get out because the novel itself is as all Hemingway works is male chauvinistic in the extreme. If he wanted to showcase Jennifer, any Hemingway just ain't the vehicle. He should have used one of the Bronte sisters.

Since the novel is male oriented Rock Hudson makes a fine Fredric Henry, the idealistic man who volunteers on the Italian front as an ambulance driver to experience war so he can write about it when it's over. On that Italian front it didn't look like it was ever going to be over.

That's another problem with this work, how do you sell it to the movie going public, as a romance or an anti-war tract? If you're Adolph Zukor for Paramount or David O. Selznick probably romance is the aspect that does sell.

The third major character in the film is that of the Italian army doctor Major Rinaldi played here by Vittorio DeSica. This version is more faithful to the book and presents Rinaldi as a three dimensional character.

In the 1932 version Adolphe Menjou was Rinaldi and Menjou did fine with the part as your typical suave continental type. Here Rinaldi's outspokenness about the futility of the Italian campaign leads to tragedy. It also led to an Oscar nomination for Vittorio DeSica as Best Supporting Actor. It was the only recognition A Farewell To Arms got from the Academy and DeSica lost to Red Buttons for Sayonara.

Whether Huston or Vidor did them, the battle scenes and the scenes of retreat are shattering and moving. Given the unique problems of Hemingway and Selznick, we're lucky the film came out as good as it did.


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