Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|All Quiet on the Western Front |
Universal Cinema Classics
Actors: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Arnold Lucy, Ben Alexander
Director: Lewis Milestone
Genres: Classics, Military & War
Lewis Milestone's adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's anti-war novel is a masterpiece whose power to disturb remains undiminished by the passage of time. The film stars Lew Ayres as the young Paul Bauman, who, along with ... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Patricia F. (patticom) from RIVERVIEW, FL
Reviewed on 1/29/2008...
In spite of the grainy old black and white aspect of this film, it has one of the most powerful and poignant anti-war messages I have ever seen in a film. The script is extremely well done, touching on faith, the often pointlessness of war, the confusion of the troops over what it is all about, and the fear and uncertainty of the men on the front lines. Unlike most war films, there is no solid hero nor villian, and virtually everyone in the film dies in the end. It is also solidly out of the realm of the american flag-waving in most world war films I have seen, coming directly from the point of view of the german troops as they are fighting the french. My teenage son declared it to be his "favorite movie."
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
The Sound of Silence
J. Michael Click | Fort Worth, Texas United States | 10/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Winner of the 1930 Oscars for Best Picture and Director, "All Quiet on the Western Front" remains a stunning and timely film. Based on Erich Maria Remarque's classic anti-war novel, the movie follows a group of patriotic German schoolboys as they are urged to enlist in World War II, and shows how their initially idealistic spirits are forever changed by the brutal reality of death and dismemberment, suffering and sorrow. Beautifully acted by its entire cast (with special kudos going to Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, and Slim Summerville), the film also features some incredible special visual effects (those two detached hands clinging to the barbed wire fence never fail to shock) and some meticulously staged battle scenes that manage to put the viewer into the heart of the action. Arthur Edeson's cinematography is often truly astonishing in its artistry; his visual choices are impeccable. Worth a special note is the film's soundtrack; how incredible the terrible sounds of exploding ammunition must have seemed to audiences in 1930, who had first heard Al Jolson speak in 1927's part-talkie, "The Jazz Singer"! The very last sound effect in the film, which abruptly and startlingly leads to the close of the movie, is superbly executed and remains an innovative use of sound technology.The Universal DVD release of this film features a great sound transfer: on my six-speaker system, the rumbling explosions, staccato machine guns, and whizzing bullets sounded remarkably nearby. Sadly, the visual transfer was sorely lacking; the source was plagued by jumps, scratches, lines, and breaks throughout the film, and the contrast was sometimes out-of-balance. This cinematic masterpiece demands and deserves to be fully restored, and then remastered and rereleased on DVD. (Are you listening, Universal Home Video?) The DVD extras include production notes; cast and director biographies and filmographies; and a Theatrical Trailer from one of the film's many reissues. Warts and all, this DVD edition is definitely worth a look - the film's brilliance is such that it shines above and beyond this rather shoddy presentation."
Exceptional DVD treatment of a classic
Jordan M. Poss | Georgia, United States | 02/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All Quiet on the Western Front has finally gotten the DVD that it deserves. After languishing for years in a stopgap DVD release that was difficult to hear and had terrible picture quality, this classic anti-war film has been restored by the Library of Congress and digitally remastered. The results are fantastic.
Note: This review refers to the new Universal Cinema Classics release (black case with close-up of Lew Ayres), not some of the older releases (bluish monochrome case with a German helmet) which Amazon has seen fit to post this review on.
Picture: Huge improvement. The previous release was dull, low-resolution, sometimes blurry, and reproduced lots and lots of distracting scratches and dirt from old reels. Now the picture is crisp, very sharp, and as clean as it has ever been.
Sound: Another huge improvement. The 1930-vintage sound effects are still rather clunky and the dialogue is hard to understand once or twice, but overall the restoration is a phenomenal improvement. Very good.
There are no special features to speak of, although the DVD does include a later, probably 1940s-era trailer and an introduction from Turner Classic Movies' resident film historian Robert Osborne. The restoration of the sound and image are the big selling points, here.
The only negative thing I have to say is pretty trivial--there is no chapter menu. This is only a minor concern, though, and in no way detracts from the quality of the DVD or the film itself. If you've been waiting for a good release of All Quiet on the Western Front or have never seen it, this is the DVD and now is the time.
One of the first war movies is still one of the best
William A. Hensler | Holt, Michigan United States | 02/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This reviewer give this move 5 stars. It is actually 10 out of 10.
Some people will say the movie's black and white color is distracting. This the Great War we are watching. Only the paintings were color. Color photography was not invented yet. So it actually enhances the feel of the movie.
This movie is a great. It completely captures what trench warfare was like. It was a muddy, miserable life with rats and little food. Somebody was always shooting at you. That is trench warfare.
The basic plot is about a school student, Paul, who is convinced by his school teacher to join and fight with the army in 1915. The class enlists in mass, goes through training together, and then march off to fight at the Western front.
The movie is like chapters in a book. Most Americans don't understand what old Germany was like. Old Germany was a land of Christian values. The Kaiser (translation: the emperor) was seen as a direct official working under God's blessing. The family of Germany was the center of society. All students were good in school or properly learned their jobs. They obeyed their parents and the Church. Old Germany was quite highly though of in pre-WWI America.
The fact that Paul was in high school (gymnasium) proves he was an exceptional student. In Germany the poorly performing students are sent to trade school. Paul's being in gymnasium proves he is one of the more intellectually advanced students.
Yes, this movie is shot in America. However, the sets look like they were made in old Europe. There are cobblestone roads, the signs are in German, the writing on the chalk board is in old German script, and the soldiers sing German folk tunes. The movie is like a time machine to another age. Even a graveyard looks like a European graveyard, not American. The technical lenghts this movie goes through is nearly boundless.
The shown German basic training was quite realistic. Why? An American army unit would band together people from all over the nation. Strength through diversity and all that. Germany was much more realistic. They had training centers in every "state". This had advantages in training because the Germans started with a much more heterogeneous group and later subordinated the unit to a greater good, such as their division. In America there are racial, regional (like Texas vs New York), and religious problems which never were worked out in WWI or WWII. Thus Paul and his group are much more worried about their Oberfreiter (sergeant) and conforming to the norms of their assigned army unit than a likewise American unit would be during that time period. So, Paul's unit training as a cohort is quite correct.
And Paul's unit joining the front lines is quite realistic. They go from being a group of trainees to veterans very fast after being caught in an artillery bombardment. The wire laying detail is quite correct. When Corporal Katczinsky is smoking his pipe watching the operation that's correct. Pipes don't have the glow of a cigarette at night time, the walls of the pipe mask the burning.
The technical details on this movie are fantastic. The soldiers actually eat at a real German food kitchen. The Soldier's equipment is what the Imperial German Army actually wore in the war. The European villages are quite convincing sets. The artillery bombardments look so good that out takes of the scenes are used in other war movies. Take note of this, the German Army in WWI and WWII did not do a very good job of feeding their soldiers. The German army felt a well fed soldier would not want to fight. The logic was the famished German soldiers would at least raid the enemies lines for food. In real life the underfed Germans had to loot the locals. They were all starving. This leads up to a very strong scene with some French girls.
Another underrated scene is inside of the German Bier Garten (bar). The sausage, pickles, and snacks the Germans ate was quite accurate. The posters on the wall are all quite correct for the period. The German soldiers are all singing a happy German beer drinking song. I loved this snapshot of old Germany.
The friendship between Paul and Katczinsky is quite believable. Katczinsky is a working man from Eastern Germany. Paul is a soon-to-be-playwright. However, these two divergent characters soon develop a strong friendship almost immediately.
This movie closely follows the book, but not exactly. The movie didn't have the time.
Now, as a child this reviewer was taught that the Great War, WWI, was not that significant. Actually, it's the most significant war of the 20th Century. It is the start of a 20 year period of warfare in Europe, with some minor breaks, that ends with Soviet troops standing in the pulverized rubble of Berlin.
Everything is gone by 1945. The royalty of Europe is destroyed (You think Prince Charles is in the same League as King George?). The families are shattered by war. The land is laid waste. The Christian faith went from over 95% church attendance to less than 10% in less than 60 years: the wars destroyed the faith in King, Country, and God. Europe was the pearl of Western Civilization in 1910. By 1945 millions were dead and Europe was reduced to a minor player in the world stage.
The movie is an analog of real life. The best that Western civilization can offer is destroyed and all that exists in the end is destruction and death.
This is a must see movie. It should be part of every military historians library."