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All Quiet on the Western Front

DVD cover
Directed by Delbert Mann
Produced by Norman Rosemont
Written by Paul Monash
Starring Richard Thomas
Ernest Borgnine
Music by Allyn Ferguson
Cinematography John Coquillon
Editing by Alan Pattillo
Bill Blunden
Release date(s) November 14, 1979
Running time 150 minutes
Country USA / UK
Language English

All Quiet on the Western Front is a television movie produced by ITC Entertainment in full color that was released on November 14, 1979, starring actors Richard Thomas from The Waltons fame as Paul Baumer, and Ernest Borgnine as Katczinsky. It is based on the book of the same title by Erich Maria Remarque. This version has the soldiers using the Model 1888 Commission Rifle, later editions of which were infrequently used in World War I, while the Mauser Gewehr 98 was widely used by the German Army.

The 1979 film was directed by Delbert Mann; though the acting of some of the performers was praised, the general opinion of most film enthusiasts is that it failed to equal the 1930 film directed by Lewis Milestone. Nevertheless, the film has its share of tension and death, and in the spirit of the novel, manages to convey a sense of desolation, hardship, and waste. Late in the film, the turmoil and wretchedness of the main character, Paul Baumer, is manifest in his extreme disassociation while home on furlough.

Most of the movie was filmed in Czechoslovakia in what was one of the first US/UK produced films to be shot in a Communist Bloc country.

Contents

Plot Summary

The film follows young Paul Baumer, who enlists with many of his school friends. After surviving training camp under the sadistic Corporal Himmelstoss (Ian Holm), the young men are shipped to the front lines and placed under the supervision of a pragmatic, yet good-natured older soldier, Stanislaus Katzinsky, or Kat (Ernest Borgnine).

The film focuses on the suffering and tragedy caused by war, particularly the horrors endured by the young men serving in it. At the beginning, the French and German armies are shown attacking each other repeatedly over a few hundred yards of torn, corpse-strewn land. Paul's weak friend Franz Kemmerich is wounded, and soon dies in an army hospital. In spite of being distraught by his friend's death, Paul returns to the trenches with his troop.

Although at one point, Paul and two of his friends do have their first experience of sex (with some accommodating French peasant girls), the vast majority of all the young men's experiences are horrific. One by one, practically all of Paul's other schoolmate friends die, one way or another. When home on furlough, Paul is told by his sister that their bedridden mother (movingly played by Patricia Neal), is dying of cancer. Just before the end of the film, Kat is wounded and Paul carries his larger, heavier, older friend many miles to a field hospital (in a bomb-shattered, very small, derelict church). There he is informed that Kat is dead, and has been for some time. The film ends with Paul writing a letter to the single other survivor of his class, who is now an amputee. When he finishes, he goes to check on the drastically underage replacements (none of whom look older than fifteen), guarding the trench. He spots a bird and begins to sketch it, and when the bird starts to fly away Paul stands up to see where it went. A lone rifle shot strikes him in the back of the head, killing him. Not long after, the Armistice is declared and the War is over.

Reception

The film won a Golden Globe Award in the category Best Motion Picture Made for TV as well as an Emmy Award for Outstanding Film Editing for a Limited Series or a Special.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ Awards for All Quiet on the Western Front imdb.com

External links

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