Tag Archives: Lewis Milestone

All Quiet on the Western Front (4)

This is Part Four of a dialogue taken from “All Quiet on the Western Front”. A group of German soldier discuss their plight:

All-Quiet-hands

“I’ll tell you how it should all be done.
Whenever there’s a big war comin’ on, you should rope off a big field…”

“And sell tickets.”

“Yeah.”

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“And on the big day, you should take all the kings and their cabinets and their generals, put ’em in the centre dressed in their underpants, and let ’em fight it out with clubs. The best country wins.”

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Unfortunately, only one war has ever been carried out like that. It was the Israelites and the Philistines in the Old Testament when one side chose a champion and so did the other:

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It would certainly be something to think about, especially where wars are just dragging on in pointless fashion as the First World War and the now long forgotten Iran-Iraq War did.  Eight years and not too far short of a million casualties.

The film, though, comes to a famous end. The young hero, the last of his class to remain alive, is killed by a sniper as he reaches forward to touch a butterfly:

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All Quiet on the Western Front (3)

This is Part Three of a dialogue taken from the film “All Quiet on the Western Front”:

Remarque_Im_Westen_ book cover

A group of German soldiers discuss their plight:

“Somebody must have wanted the war. Maybe it was the English. No, I don’t want to shoot any Englishman. I never saw one ’til I came here. And I suppose most of them never saw a German ’til “they” came here. No, I’m sure “they” weren’t asked about it.”

“No.”

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“Well, the war must be doing somebody some good.”

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“I think maybe the Kaiser wanted a war.”

“I don’t see that. The Kaiser’s got everything he needs.”

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“Well, he never had a war before. Every full-grown emperor needs one war to make him famous. Why, that’s history.”

“Yeah, generals, too. They need war.”

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And Prime Ministers and even Presidents come to that. They think it will make them look good when somebody else takes the risks on their behalf.

 

 

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All Quiet on the Western Front (2)

This is Part Two of a dialogue taken from “All Quiet on the Western Front”:

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A group of German soldiers in World War One discuss their plight:

“Well. how do they start a war?”

“Well, stupid, one people offends another.”

“Oh, well, if that’s it, I shouldn’t be here at all. I don’t feel offended.”

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“It don’t apply to tramps like you.”

“Good. Then I could be goin’ home right away.”

“Ah, you just try it.”

“Yeah. You wanna get shot?”

“Me and the Kaiser felt just alike about this war. We didn’t either of us want a war, so I’m going home. He’s there already”

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Would it were so simple:

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You can see why Hitler’s Nazi Party sabotaged showings of this film in 1930s Germany. It would have brought home the grim reality to many of those willing to die for the Führer at the first glorious opportunity.

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All Quiet on the Western Front (1)

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The film All Quiet on the Western Front was first shown in 1930. It won Oscars for its director, Lewis Milestone, and its producer, Carl Laemmle Junior:Carl_Laemmle_Jr

During his years as head of production at Universal studios, Carl Laemmle Junior was to be best known for overseeing  the classic old horror films such as Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), and Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Lewis Milestone, born Leib Milstein, is best known for directing films such as Of Mice and Men, Anything Goes,  Halls of Montezuma Oceans Eleven and Mutiny on the Bounty.

My own favourite is All Quiet on the Western Front and that fondness for the film is based on a conversation that occurs right at the very end.

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The film as a whole was written by Maxwell Anderson, George Abbott and Del Andrews. I do not know who was responsible for these particular extracts. The two writers who narrowly failed to win the Oscar for best writing were Andrews and Anderson. In it, one of the wise old soldiers gives his idea on the solution to war.

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I have decided to divide the dialogue into four sections. Here is Number One:

“Ah, the French certainly deserve to be punished for starting this war.”

“Everybody says it’s somebody else.”

“Well. how do they start a war?”

“Well, one country offends another.”

“How could one country offend another?”

“You mean there’s a mountain over in Germany gets mad at a field over in France?”

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To be continued…

 

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