All Quiet On The Western Front (Mann, 1978) DVD
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Directed by Delbert Mann
Produced in 1978
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
A second film version (the first was Lewis Milestone's classic 1930 version) of Erich Maria Remarque's story about a group of idealistic young Germans recruited to fight on the Western Front in 1914. Amongst their number is the patriotic Paul Baumer (Richard Thomas), whose preconceptions are rapidly shattered upon witnessing the horror of life at the front. Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence and Ian Holm also star.
Length: 158 mins
Aspect ratio: 4:3 Full Frame
Format: DVD B&W
Released: 27th March 2000
Cat No: 3711504893
- HOH subtitles.
“Brilliant in blu-ray”
by Jason R on 15th January 2011
Without hesitation, I can state that (to date) this is the most successful upgrade to blu-ray I have seen. All Quiet on the Western Front, this 1979 Anglo-American mad... Read on
Without hesitation, I can state that (to date) this is the most successful upgrade to blu-ray I have seen. All Quiet on the Western Front, this 1979 Anglo-American made-for-tv project has suffered from
a)being compared (usually unfavourably) with Lewis Milestone's 1930 classic movie and b)only being available on a mediocre Carlton dvd, a version with 30 minutes of arbitary cuts that ruin the flow of the narrative.
Here at last, this great (and greatly underestimated) epic anti-war treatist can be seen in it's entirety. Based more closely on Erich Remarque's novel than the 1930 film was, it benefits from a stellar cast (including Ernest Borgnine, Ian Holm, Donald Pleasence & Patricia Neal, all on top form), a wonderfully authentic location in what was Czechoslovakia.
However, any dramatisation of All Quiet must stand or fall by the choice of the actor for the story's protagonist, soldier-boy 'hero' Paul Baumer, The part was awarded to Richard Thomas, famed at the time for his portrayal of the eldest son in the popular & long running tv family drama, 'The Waltons'. Many, including myself were sceptical. Would he have the gravitas & emotional range to get under the skin of the complex and damaged young man? We need not have worried. Thomas's performance was extraordinary, measured, intelligent and totally devoid of bathos. The final scene had me gulping!
Crucially in a war film the battle scenes must impress. Here in brilliant blu-ray they certainly do. John Coquillon's grim & grainy cinematography accentuates the brutal realism magnificently. The film's gritty verisimilitude is further enhanced by the uncompromising squalor of the trenches and the soldiers in their battered battledress. It is indeed quite a shock to see 'John-Boy' now as a mud splattered, stubbled & battle scarred squadie. The new rough & tough action-man image certainly suits him though. He's never before looked so handsome (though be warned, devoid of the usual 'softening' make-up, his distinctive mole on the left cheek looks disconcertingly large & may prove uncomfortably distracting for some).
By general consent, this is Richard Thomas in his prime giving the performance of his life as Paul Baumer. Understandably it is still his favourite role and the film he is most proud of.
I award the blu-ray re-issue of All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) FIVE STARS!
The film is 150 minutes, not 123 as stated above. Hide