Monday, July 4, 2016

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Director: Lewis Milestone

Writers: Erich Maria Remarque, Maxwell Anderson, George Abbott, Del Andrews

Starring: Louis Wolheim, Lew Ayres, John Wray, Arnold Lucy, Ben Alexander, Scott Kolk, Owen Davis Jr., Walter Rogers, William Bakewell, Russell Gleason, Richard Alexander, Harold Goodwin, Slim Summerville

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  At last....the motion picture!

Plot:  A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I.

My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes!

What a powerful film.  It's violent and it hammers home its message without apologies.  War is hell.  This is one of the most brilliant anti-war films I've ever seen (if not the most).  Antiquated acting style aside, even if you look at this through modern eyes, it's still a kick in the guts.  That last scene had me tearing up.  Man, it's bleak.  I can only imagine how audiences felt when seeing this 86 years ago.  I guess it would be akin to how we took in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998) during the opening D-Day Invasion sequence.  The action scenes are brutal and so much so that I'm sure veterans of the Great War reacted very emotionally upon seeing this.  Wow.  Reportedly Universal took a huge gamble spending $1M+ on making this in the beginning months of the Great Depression.  It paid off and audiences have been better for it.  I had no idea how heavy this picture was.  Unfortunately the Universal DVD I have (now had) has lousy sound and sketchy picture quality.  I hear there's a much better version out there.  The only extra on my DVD is the theatrical trailer.  This one definitely belongs in my collection but only the restored version.

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