Home Classic Movies ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’: Classic War Drama at Film Forum

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’: Classic War Drama at Film Forum


Lew Ayres and Louis Wolheim in All Quiet on the Western Front

The silent version of the best picture Academy Award winner All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), in my view the greatest war movie ever made, will be screened at New York City’s Film Forum on Monday, August 3. Showtimes are at 3:20, 6:50, and 9:20.

Having been restored and preserved by the Library of Congress, and featuring two reels cut from the original talkie print following the film’s East and West Coast premieres, this silent version – edited from the foreign negative – comes with musical accompaniment intended for foreign markets where theaters hadn’t yet been equipped to sound. (I should add that in the silent and early talkie eras, major productions were frequently filmed with two cameras placed side by side, with the second negative used for foreign prints).

According to the Film Forum press release, this version boasts “more fluid camera movements, smoother editing transitions, more character details, even synch French dialogue missing from the talkie.” Here’s hoping it also features the scene featuring carefree, nude young men frolicking in a lake, a bit that was later deemed indecent by the sex-crazed prudes at the Hays Office.

Directed by Lewis Milestone, and adapted by George Abbott, Maxwell Anderson, and Del Andrews from Erich Maria Remarque’s classic anti-war novel, All Quiet on the Western Front stars fresh-faced Lew Ayres as a German schoolboy whose concept of war consists of love of country, adventure, bravery, honor, and glory. Once the wholesale slaughter of human beings begin, the schoolboy and his equally naive (stupid?) mates change their minds about war – World War I in this case – rather rapidly.

Most people remember the butterfly bit – a hand reaching out for beauty but finding death instead – and the moment in the trenches when Ayres’ character talks to a soldier he’s just killed, but my two favorite moments in All Quiet on the Western Front are those when the schoolboy-turned-war veteran talks about the horrors of war to a bunch of school kids who refuse to have their dreams of valor shattered, and the film’s final moment, when all those young, male corpses-to-be turn to face the camera while marching on to battle.

In addition to its best picture and best director wins, All Quiet on the Western Front was nominated for two other Academy Awards: best cinematography (Arthur Edeson) and best screenplay.

Photo: Courtesy Photofest

3 comments

You may also like

Leave a Comment

IMPORTANT: By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by Alt Film Guide. Make sure your comment adds something relevant to the discussion; *thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative. Abusive/bigoted, trollish/inflammatory, baseless (spreading misinformation, whether intentionally or not), spammy, and/or just plain deranged comments will be zapped. And finally, links found in submitted comments will generally be deleted.

3 comments

Bob Fartsalot -

I like this picture. Is it available as a poster?

Reply
admin -

The image was provided by Film Forum…

Reply
Bob Fartsalot -

The picture shown is not from the silent version.

Reply

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. If you continue browsing, that means you've accepted our Terms of Use/use of cookies. You may also click on the Accept button on the right to make this notice disappear. Accept Read More