A Farewell to Arms: Kino Classics Edition
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A tale of the love between ambulance driver Lt. Henry (Gary Cooper) and Nurse Catherine Barkley (Helen Hayes) during World War I. The action takes place in Italy and the two fall in love during the war and will stop at nothing to be together. The film also analyses Lt. Henry's feelings on war and the purpose of fighting.
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Frank Borzage had a romanticism and sensitivity to his silent work matched by none, and when sound came along he continued to put a delicate touch on films that required something more than just direction. With Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" he brought this romantic tragedy to the screen with a dark and foreboding glow. Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes portray the doomed couple battling for moments of happiness while bombs explode everywhere around them.
Cooper is Frederic, an American driving in the Italian Ambulance Core who meets and falls in love with lovely Katherine (Helen Hayes). She is a nurse and both are simply trying to outlast the reality of war, any romantic notions crushed long ago by the parade of damaged young men. Borzage uses Charles Lang's photography to frame their old-fashioned romance against images of the first war which engulfed the entire globe. Rather than a grand film about war, however, Borzage makes his point by creating a warm and intimate glow to a romance filled with sweet moments of love, yet surrounded with doom.
Through a timid kiss on a public street, a gift of a shared St. Anthony necklace to guard her sweetheart from harm, Katherine's romantically embellished description of her shabby hotel room when writing her love, and a marriage ceremony on a hospital bed where they pretend they can smell orange blossoms on the wind, Borzage creates something timeless while at the same time showing that true love once meant something. When Frederic comes back after their first time together, the viewer knows long before he gets there it is because he needs to let her know it really meant something to him.
Adolphe Menjou is Frederic's misguided party pal who can't understand and tries to interfere, then has a change of heart and helps them reunite under dangerous circumstances, but perhaps too late. For those who haven't seen it, I won't ruin the experience with too many details. The final shot of doves shot against the heavens has much the same effect as the final shot of Borzage's "Three Comrades." This old-fashioned and tender film is an early sound masterpiece anyone with a romantic heart will enjoy.
Most recent customer reviews
This version of the epic Hemingway story, even though the first produced, is a very poor...Read more