beefing up my 2017 watchlist with radical leftist films. suggestions welcome (keeping at one per director for now).
All Quiet on the Western Front
They left for war as boys never to return as men.
A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I. Together with several other young German soldiers, he experiences the horrors of war, such evil of which he had not conceived of when signing up to fight. They eventually become sad, tormented, and confused of their purpose.
Film #1 of Project 30
”When it comes to dying for your country it’s better not to die at all.”
It’s really amazing that this 84 year old film’s messages and its viewpoints regarding war and its effects on human soul feel so fresh and modern even now. Lewis Milestone’s adaptation of Eric Maria Remarque’s novel of the same name is an absorbing, tantalizing and incredibly affective piece of cinema which focuses on a group of naive German boys who go to the ugly battlefields of World War I and it shows how anguish, misery and sorrow replaces all their energy, passion and enthusiasm for life and how their courage, valor and heroism soon turns into silence, depression and despair.…
There are a dozen or so legendary films in the history of cinema that live up to their billing, and then some. This is certainly one of them. It's so defiantly timeless, and also makes you somewhat wonder why people even bothered making war films ever since.
As a result of the 100th year commemorations of WWI which are currently underway, I finally decided to seek this film out and polish it off. It is one of those films you often hear about a long time before you get around to seeing it, it features prominently in the history of early cinema, particularly the early era of the Oscars. The film title itself is pure pop-culture, to the point of…
Okay, so some of the acting is a little stilted at times, but the earnestness helps to endear the characters and All Quiet on the Western Front packs in so much film-making virtuosity and naturalism for an 83 year old film that it hasn't aged for a second. The war scenes are astounding with realism and mortifying with truth. The camera so composed, always in the right spot, so still and picturesque with haunting reserve at times. The framing often reveals detail in the background as the foreground carries on with story. There is always more than one action going on in every shot, always commanding full attention. A phenomenal piece of work that has stood the test of time as well as anything.
[Originally written on my blog.]
Give it up to Milestone for directing battle sequences that still have the power to astonish over 80 years later, even compared to the groundbreaking contemporary films they directly influenced (namely Saving Private Ryan and its knockoffs). Actually, just give it up to him period, because the entire film is sensationally directed, to the point where it much more closely resembles late silents than early talkies. There actually is a silent version of All Quiet, as it turns out, shot simultaneously, and I really should watch that at some point, if only to see how it handles the incredibly stilted dialogue scenes that keep dragging the movie down. (Odds are it plays…
I recently watched another World War 1 film, Wings, and while that film was not afraid to show some of the horrors of war the film itself was more lighthearted and not just focused on the brutality of the war. Not so much with All Quiet on the Western Front which is absolutely drenched in the devastation and hopelessness of the first world war.
The film, based on the famous novel, is told from the side of the Germans and a young group of patriotic university soldiers who enlist to help their fatherland in the war but quickly become disillusioned as they experience…
A half hour into this, around the time the second hysterical soldier cries like a baby, I'm ready to condemn it for being unrealistic. And that's when I realize it's just my American conditioning kicking in. Having recently watched American Sniper (review forthcoming), All Quiet On The Western Front is about as lucky a counterpoint as I could have hoped for. A film like this just couldn't be made today; lately it seems the American military must be a rock-solid bastion of masculinity at all times, and it's insane to think how many war films made in Hollywood tread this same purloined path of self-righteous bravado.
Eighty-five years later and this is one of the greatest war films ever made.…
Significant anti-war film and an early Oscar winner, based on the book of the same name. Its rather shocking watching this to think this was released before the rise of Hitler and the Second World War. It is brutal and uncompromising for a film of its time. I particularly remember the image of a soldier grabbing hold of the barbed wire line, a shell landing, and the man disappearing, but two hands still gripping the wire. The ending is also perfect and will stay with me for a while. Such a tragedy that the lessons of this film and the book weren't listened to.
Although the film portrays a company of German soldiers, it is an American film in English. I would have been curious to see a film made in Germany, although perhaps it wasn't ready for that in 1930.
What a great movie! What a great fucking movie! Arguably the first great film made in the sound era. And one you appreciate more on repeat viewings.
It's World War I, and a bunch of German schoolboys, led by Paul Baumer (Lew Ayres), run to enlist in the military, filled with the "glory of fighting for the Fatherland." Their romantic delusions are quickly broken on the battlefield as condition are rough, food rations are low, and the trenches are far from accommodating. One solider has his leg amputated. When Paul returns home, he is shocked by how uninformed everyone is about the war, and how naive their patriotism sounds. He returns to the front, only to find his "family" here…
Grueling and cruel, a better anti-war film can hardly be made.
Time is given to developing the characters before throwing them into chaotically magnificent frays. For all its battle sequences, the filmmakers know that violence is not where the horrors of war lie. It's with the people who are made to fight and absorb it all, even when it inevitably becomes too much to bear.
TSPDT Cinema 1000: #40
Hot take this is damn good
All Quiet on the Western Front is the exception to the claim that history is written by the victors. Based on the novel by German Erich Maria Remarque and concerning the experiences of a band of young, raw recruits to the Kaiser's army in WWI, director Lewis Milestone's epic remains the most authentic, powerful and influential (anti) war movie, with scenes that still shock and unsettle to this day.
If you just watch this movie in 2016 I don't think your going to like it
if your someone who likes the history of movies you could have fun with it. this is a movie I respect more than I liked
Over a hundred million people have gone to theatres to see it and
have-perhaps-responded to its pacifist message. One could be cynical about the results, but the film itself does not invite cynical reactions, and the fact that it has frequently been banned in countries preparing for war suggests that it makes militarists uncomfortable. Erich Maria Remarque's 1929 novel, on which it is based, was already famous when Lewis Milestone directed this attack on the senseless human waste of war, made in Hollywood. It follows a handful of young German volunteers in the First World War from school to battlefield, and shows the disintegration of their romantic ideas of war, gallantry, and fatherland in the squalor of the trenches. Except…
That last minute of footage was gut-wrenching.
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1187. An easy way of seeing how…