A Time to Love and a Time... View large image

Film Details

Directed by: Douglas Sirk

Produced: 1958

Countries & Regions: United States

DVD Details

Certificate: PG

Length: 127 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 30 March 2009

Cat No: EKA40271

Languages(s): English
Hard of Hearing Subtitles: English
Interactive Menu
Screen ratio 1:2.35

Moviemail Details

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A Time to Love and a Time to Die (Masters of Cinema)

Cast: John Gavin , Keenan Wynn , Thayer David , Liselotte Pulver , Erich Maria Remarque , Jock Mahoney , Don DeFore , Barbara Rutting , Dieter Borsche , Charles Regnier

Availability: Not available.

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

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Douglas Sirk directs this wartime romance set against the backdrop of a German soldier returning home on leave. After being worn down by the ravages of duty on the Russian front, Private Ernst Graeber (John Gavin) finally receives his long-awaited leave and returns home to Germany. After discovering his home bombed, Ernst, trying to find his parents, meets and falls in love with Elizabeth Kruze (Lilo Pulver). Attempting to set up house together, they discover that Elizabeth is pregnant. However, the couple’s new found happiness is shattered when Ernst is recalled to the front.

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.

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