Dec 10, 2007

All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front(a film directed by Lewis Milestone aka Lev Milstein) is as close to an American antiwar film that I have ever seen. The interesting element of the film that its from the perspective of Germans as opposed to Americans. It is a film based on the book of the same name written by Erich Paul Remark who was either of ethnically French descent or ethnically Jewish descent. It has also been questioned whether Erich Paul Remark actually saw battle.

Although All Quiet on the Western Front sympathizes with and humanizes the German enemy, it also blames Germans for the war due to blind patriotism. This is obvious in the beginning of the film where a professor convinces his pupils to fight for The Fatherland and they oblige blindly and enthusiastically. To a German this could be quite condescending and offensive. After Germany was ripped apart and humiliated with the Treaty of Versailles which ultimately lead to World War II, All Quiet on the Western Front would be the last thing a German would want to see. I felt that it was at least a step-up from the dehumanizing of Germans in the majority of World War I and later World War II films.

At no point in All Quiet on the Western Front did the director glamorize war, which is virtually impossible with the war film. When viewers see combat battle footage and men in the trenches, its usually going to be very exciting. The films soundtrack and sound design added a feeling that you could be shot at any second. Although thrilling, fear was the main emotion that these sounds of bombs and bullets provoked.

Scenes that took place in the trenches showed the hell of the war. Hungry and injured soldiers waiting for their next deadly battles in the trench both emotionally and physically exhausted, exhibited faces with a loss of hope. The war was something they didn’t expect it to be. Once on the battlefield, the soldiers are soon to forget what they are fighting for. When battle actually starts, the soldiers quickly realize they want to go home.

The money men, global bankers, and war profiteers are the only people that benefit from war. War is the biggest moneymaking business in history. The common man is only used as an object for the elite. World War I led to the destruction of four empires: Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungry Empire, German Empire, and the Russian empire. The war resulted in the deaths of over 20 million people. The last thing a German wants to think about is through being naïve and blindly patriotic, he was a contributor in this mayhem. I seriously doubt that any German would appreciate All Quiet on the Western Front as a motivator and inspirational film. On the contrary, I think the film and book would further their depressed and lost state. A state that would have eventually lead the success of the German Nationalist Socialist party and not far after World War II.

-Ty E


Anonymous said...

the 3rd best war movie ever made, only klimov`s "come and see" and peckinpah`s "cross of iron" are better films.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Its interesting to realise of course that when future historians look back to the 20th century it wont be the carnage of the two world wars that they will find horrifying, but rather the sexual repression that people had to endure during that period ! ! !. The lies, hypocrisy, and sexual repression during the 20th century was an absolute abomination (and its still with us today to a certain extent, unbelievable as that seems). I wonder how much more time will have to pass before "THE TIME OF SEXUAL REPRESSION" is finally brought to a thankful and merciful end ?, when that day does arrive it will be THE greatest day in the entire history of the universe ! ! !.