A Time to Love and a Time to Die (Masters of Cinema) DVD
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Directed by Douglas Sirk
Produced in 1958
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
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.
Based on Erich Maria Remarque’s novel A Time to Love and a Time to Die, Douglas Sirk’s A Time to Love and a Time to Die is set in the devastating ruin of burnt-out Germany during the final days of World War Two. Amid this tumult and desolation is Private Ernst Graeber (John Gavin) who, having been sent home on leave from the Russian front, finds his town destroyed by Allied bombing. Frantically searching for his parents, Ernst encounters his childhood friend Elizabeth Kruse (Lilo Pulver), the daughter of a doctor who has been removed to a concentration camp. In spite of the horror of their surroundings and their close proximity to death, Ernst and Elizabeth find hope in their love for one another. Together they try to wrest sanity from a world shattered by fear and hatred. Featuring a cameo appearance by the novel’s author, Sirk’s penultimate film brought him to the attention of critics and theorists worldwide.
Publisher: Eureka / Masters of Cinema
Length: 127 mins
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Cat No: EKA40271
Format: DVD Colour
Subtitles: English HoH
- Gorgeous new anamorphic transfer of the film in its original 2:35:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio
- Of Tears and Speed: According to Jean-Luc Godard (a 12-minute, visually annotated recitation of Jean-Luc Godard's seminal essay on Sirk's film)
- Video interview with Wesley Strick, screenwriter of Scorsese's Cape Fear and author of the novel Out There in the Dark, a roman-à-clef based upon Sirk's life in Hollywood and his relationship with the estranged son who took a starring role in Hitler Youth propaganda
- Imitation of Life: A Portrait of Douglas Sirk (a 49-minute film portrait from 1984, directed by Daniel Schmid and photographed by Renato Berta, of Douglas Sirk and his wife Hilda in conversation, and reflecting, from their apartment in Germany, back upon their lives in Hollywood)
- The original trailer for the film, from the time it retained the provisional title of simply 'A Time to Love'
- 36-page booklet containing the complete text of Jean-Luc Godard's essay on the film, writings from critic Tag Gallagher on the film and Sirk's career in general, and an assemblage of notes that includes excerpts from Sirk's reflections upon the film, remarks upon visual motifs inside the movie, the CinemaScope process used to photograph the picture, and more.
by Barry Forshaw on 12th March 2009
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 r... Read on
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. Hide