Freitag, 8. Juni 2012

All Quiet on the Western Front (Milestone, 1930) #TSPDT 296

The first World War experienced through the eyes of an innocent school boy as he becomes a battle-hardened veteran.

The film is not only visually impressive and graphically violent, but has some really beautiful poetic moments, and even a few of them a bit racy, at least in implication. According to imdb it was filmed before production code came into effect and it makes it somehow possible to get a glimpse of how cinema could have developed in later years, hadn't the bizarre moral rules been put into gear - although the hand-cuffing led to those extremely witty double/triple and quadruple entendres in later years which I love (when I get them)

The scenes in the war trenches feel absolutely believable and what impressed me the most was the fact that the film actually shows what soldiers really do all day long: They wait. They wait to kill. The chit-chat in between fights and battles does let every soldier tell his post-war plans, but it does so in a very unsentimental way. The soldiers, their dreams, their problems are much smaller than the "grand scale of things" and it becomes quickly rather clear that they've never really understood what exactly they are fighting for.

I like that the "political" dialogues were not woven into any subtexts. An exchange on politics (not only sex and ambitions) would rather be expected, especially in the tight-knitted social group of a platoon.

The battle imagery is grandiose and just for that is worth a re-watch.

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