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Three Comrades (1938)

4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Margaret Sullavan, Franchot Tone, Robert Young, Guy Kibbee Robert Taylor
  • Directors: Frank Borzage
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 2009
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002EAYEEC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,448 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Three Comrades" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

World War I is over, let the living begin. So three German soldiers open a repair ship and get on with their lives. Erich (Robert Taylor) finds unexpected love with frail Patricia (Margaret Sullavan), Gottfried (Robert Young) falls in with a verboten anti-nationalist group, Otto (Franchot Tone) approaches each day with worldly cynicism. And through all that's to come, the men know they will remain Three Comrades.

This lyrical adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's novel is one of F. Scott Fitzgerald's rare screenwriting credits. Melodrama virtuoso Frank Borzage (Seventh Heaven) directs. And as Patricia, Sullavan remains the film's luminous soul, its cherished fourth comrade.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting period piece which skirts the real truth December 27, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Franchot Tone, Robert Young and Robert Taylor star as three young German friends who survive the rigors of World War One, and stick together as business partners during the economic hard times that followed. In many ways, this is an explicit continuation of the better-known "All Quiet On The Western Front." It is also based on the work of novelist Erich Maria Remarque and also presents an atypically sympathetic view of the Germans who took part in the war (at least of the common soldiers...) This film deals less with the horrors of war than with its social aftermath, and with the collision of Germany's cultural rigidity with an emerging modern world, at times stifling, and at others liberating. Nazism is dealt with somewhat elliptically; one of the three friends is a left-wing idealist and runs afoul of a right-wing mob, leaving the other two to pick up the pieces. Raw stuff for the time, but ultimately not the whole story. The film was decidedly behind its own times: even though open hostilities had not broken out with the German Reich, by the late 1930s World War Two was all but inevitable, and the film's ending, in which our heroes abandon the charred husk of the Old World for the romantic horizons of the New, is simply wishful thinking. By the time this film came out, walking away from the mistakes of the past was hardly an option: the spectre of war had already reared again, and was hardly going to let these young men out of its clutches. Still, if you completely ignore the reality of the times the film was produced in, this succeeds finely as a conventional tragedy-romance. F. Scott Fitzgerald apparently started the script, which was the only screenplay he himself wrote, but it was taken away from him at the last minute, after the producers decided his lofty philosophical musings were too dense to translate into Hollywood boxoffice success.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and War September 1, 2009
Format:DVD
A romantic glow hangs over this beautiful picture like a San Francisco fog over the Golden Gate Bridge. The story is based on the fine novel by Erich Maria Remarque and was adapted to the screen by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Frank Borzage was the perfect choice as director for this story of three German WWI expatriates who have bonded for life and the tubercular waif they all love in different ways. It has all the great romanticism Borzage was famous for bringing to his art. Three Comrades concluded his trilogy of otherworldly love intruded upon by war begun in the silent era with Seventh Heaven, and continuing when sound came along in A Farewell to Arms. A sense of impending tragedy even during the happier scenes creates what one might call romantic noir in one of the most romantic films ever made.

Robert Taylor portrays Erich, the younger and more innocent of the three comrades. Robert Young is Gottfried, an idealist angry at the post-war rise of fascism. And Franchot Tone, in one of his finest roles is Otto, the world-weary pragmatist. Their lives are changed forever when they meet up with the fragile Margaret Sullavan. She gave the finest performace of her career as the sweet and courages Pat, dying of tuberculosis but with just time enough left for Taylor to fall in love with her.

Each of the comrades falls in love with her in other ways as well, the threesome becoming a foursome, a makeshift family trying to keep fate at bay just a little while longer. It is a romantic film with a luminous performance from Sullavan you will always remember. Borzage creates a sense of doom underneath every light and happy moment the comrades share together, the romantic glow growing a little dimmer as destiny looms like a storm cloud just over the next hill.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great period film. November 17, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
This is a poignant movie adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's novel about three life-long friends in post World War I Germany and beautifully filmed by cinematographer and four-time Oscar winner Joseph Ruttenberg ("Waterloo Bridge", "The Philadelphia Story"). I read somewhere that this is a movie that MGM ran into some problems in its production because it was considered by some to be a war-mongering story. For this film version to be approved by the Hollywood production code in 1938, the political presence had to be toned down. Audiences will not see Nazi emblems and mention of Hitler and other Nazi leaders are noticeably absent. Remarque's novel have dealt harshly with the rise of Nazism in Germany in using it as a backdrop for a love story about three ex-soldiers, Erich Lohkamp (played by Robert Taylor) and his wife-to-be Patricia 'Pat' Hollman (Margaret Sullavan), who is dying from tuberculosis...and Erich's two friends, Otto Koster (played by Franchot Tone) and Gottfried Lenz (Robert Young), who share their fondness for Pat. The upheaval that is happening in Germany at that time were adequately represented, although there is no denying that it suffered from the censorship.
This is Margaret Sullavan's movie. The slight and delicate actress had the most convincing performance in this film. She only made sixteen films (not surpirising, since she's really a stage actress) but on all these films she reputedly left an indelible mark on each and every one of them...and that is plain to see here. Director Frank Borzage would light up and close in on her pretty smiling face and her breathy, husky voice would give cheeriness in an otherwise tempestous period.
Ably directed by two-time Academy Award winner Frank Borzage, and with some suitably Teutonic flavored music from multiple Oscar winner Franz Waxman, this is one film genre of the pre WWII period that will always be worthwhile to see.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This movie is in good condition. This is a very good movie. I love this type of movie.
Published 9 days ago by Debby S. Verrett
4.0 out of 5 stars About friendship
Three Comrades is a movie about friendship and love in a difficult time after WW1. Director Borzage, known for
romantic movies, is doing very well, only the end is too... Read more
Published 4 months ago by LostinGermany
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's true; he did what he thought was right, that's honorable, to do...
In 1938, the political situation in Europe was rapidly deteriorating as the maniacal demon Adolph Hitler cast the black veil of Nazism across the continent first with the Anschluss... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Classic film buff
3.0 out of 5 stars A story to visit WWI history.
The actors were better than the plot or vice-versa. I'll keep it in my library, and probably will see it again.
Published 21 months ago by Michael Destefano
3.0 out of 5 stars Does this have subtitle or caption?
Wanted to know this before purchasing. Warner Bros. digital copy doesn't have either as far as I know (and I've bought some of them to my chagrin)
Published on March 29, 2012 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magical Sullavan Peaks in a Moving F. Scott Fitzgerald-Adapted...
How does one not fall in love with Margaret Sullavan? The husky calm of her unique voice could invoke so many emotional inflections that combined with her will-o'-the-wisp beauty... Read more
Published on October 18, 2011 by Ed Uyeshima
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Comrades
The movie was fine, I kind of knew what to expct, being I read most of the book already by Remarque, a great writer, I guess I expected more from the movie, but all in all it was... Read more
Published on October 5, 2010 by A GOOD POET & READER
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks from across the pond.
The DVD was bought for my 86 year old father-in-law and it has made him very happy.
Published on April 22, 2010 by Mr. Paul H. Green
4.0 out of 5 stars Three Comrades, a fun political thriller
THREE COMRADES (1938)

Featuring a wonderful and thoughtful screenplay by F. Scott Fitzgerald, adapted from the novel by WW1 veteran Erich Maria Remarque. Read more
Published on May 15, 2009 by Grant
5.0 out of 5 stars Sullavan at her best
Well-done heartbreaker scripted (partly) by F. Scott Fitzgerald - and the only picture he worked on where he was so credited (though to his anger much of the dialogue he wrote was... Read more
Published on June 2, 2006 by Bomojaz
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