Film Response Post


All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) Directed by Lewis Milestone

Q. What Makes This Film Great?

This film was an immediate box office and critical success. It won the Academy Award for Outstanding Production — what we call the Best Picture Award today — and was the first talking dramatic film to win. (The Broadway Melody, a musical, had won the prior year, and the silent film Wings about Great War pilots had won the first Outstanding Production award the year before that.) In 1998, the American Film Institute ranked it as the 54th best U.S. film of the first one hundred years of movies. AFI has also named it the 7th best epic film. Virtually every director who has made a war film since its release has named it as an influence. Meanwhile, the countries in which it was banned at one time include France (until 1963, for being anti-French), Germany (for showing Germans as cowards), Poland (for being pro-German), Italy (who knows why, but they banned it until 1956), Austria (until the 1980s!), and Australia. When the film was first shown in Germany, before Hitler came to power, Nazis stormed theatres, threw stink bombs, and released rats into the audience. The film was remade in color in the 1970s with Richard Thomas as Paul and Ernest Borgnine as Katczinsky, and that version is better than you might expect. (It was supposedly being filmed again, but the production has been on-again, off-again since 2010, and this press release does not leave me hopeful: “By creating new storylines ourselves, we believe this modern rendition will encompass greater depth and historical context, but still remain congruent with the spirit of Erich Maria Remarque’s work.”) What accounts for this film’s powerful and enduring impact? And don’t just say the subject matter; many films were made about the Great War and none are as acclaimed as this one.







The post Film Response Post first appeared on COMPLIANT PAPERS.

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