Directed by: Douglas Sirk
Countries & Regions: United States
Length: 127 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 30 March 2009
Cat No: EKA40271
Hard of Hearing Subtitles: English
Screen ratio 1:2.35
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A Time to Love and a Time to Die (Masters of Cinema)
Douglas Sirk directs this wartime romance set against the backdrop of a German soldier returning home on leave. After being worn down by... Read More
It’s 1944; the Eastern Front is collapsing fast. German soldier Ernst Graeber is finally granted leave, a chance to see home and family again. But bombs have done a thorough job on everything he knew and he can find no trace of his parents. Amidst the horror, he falls in love, but his war is far from over..
Adapted from a novel by EM Remarque (who also wrote All Quiet on the Western Front), this is perhaps the bravest and most beautiful of war films. There are many movies that remind us War Is Hell but few with the courage to humanise the losing side. Sirk was always a more restrained director than his reputation as master of melodrama suggests; here he eschews easy sentiment and emotional bombast and his film is all the more heartbreaking for it. He does more than show the horror of war; he evokes its anguish.
One of the most acclaimed of Hollywood directors, Douglas Sirk abandoned his signature field of 'womens' pictures' melodrama to return to his native Germany for this remarkable (and hard-to-see) Second World War drama. It is utterly unlike the glossy movies (however splendid) that had become his bread and butter, with John Gavin (relatively bland) as Ernst Gräber, a soldier on the Russian-German Front in 1944 who returns home to Hamburg on a rare furlough. He encounters a city very different to that he left behind -- and amidst the rubble of the air-raids, he searches for his family. However, he falls in love with Elisabeth (Lilo Pulver), the daughter of his parents' doctor, and their love is to be sorely tested. Adapted from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque (the author of All Quiet on the Western Front, who also acts in the film), A Time to Love and a Time to Die is a major re-discovery from a director whose stock keeps rising.