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All Quiet on the Western Front (Universal Cinema Classics)
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Note: This review refers to the new Universal Cinema Classics release (black case with close-up of Lew Ayres), not some of the older releases (bluish monochrome case with a German helmet) which Amazon has seen fit to post this review on.
Picture: Huge improvement. The previous release was dull, low-resolution, sometimes blurry, and reproduced lots and lots of distracting scratches and dirt from old reels. Now the picture is crisp, very sharp, and as clean as it has ever been.
Sound: Another huge improvement. The 1930-vintage sound effects are still rather clunky and the dialogue is hard to understand once or twice, but overall the restoration is a phenomenal improvement. Very good.
There are no special features to speak of, although the DVD does include a later, probably 1940s-era trailer and an introduction from Turner Classic Movies' resident film historian Robert Osborne. The restoration of the sound and image are the big selling points, here.
The only negative thing I have to say is pretty trivial--there is no chapter menu. This is only a minor concern, though, and in no way detracts from the quality of the DVD or the film itself. If you've been waiting for a good release of All Quiet on the Western Front or have never seen it, this is the DVD and now is the time.
Some people will say the movie's black and white color is distracting. This the Great War we are watching. Only the paintings were color. Color photography was not invented yet. So it actually enhances the feel of the movie.
This movie is a great. It completely captures what trench warfare was like. It was a muddy, miserable life with rats and little food. Somebody was always shooting at you. That is trench warfare.
The basic plot is about a school student, Paul, who is convinced by his school teacher to join and fight with the army in 1915. The class enlists in mass, goes through training together, and then march off to fight at the Western front.
The movie is like chapters in a book. Most Americans don't understand what old Germany was like. Old Germany was a land of Christian values. The Kaiser (translation: the emperor) was seen as a direct official working under God's blessing. The family of Germany was the center of society. All students were good in school or properly learned their jobs. They obeyed their parents and the Church. Old Germany was quite highly though of in pre-WWI America.
The fact that Paul was in high school (gymnasium) proves he was an exceptional student. In Germany the poorly performing students are sent to trade school. Paul's being in gymnasium proves he is one of the more intellectually advanced students.
Yes, this movie is shot in America. However, the sets look like they were made in old Europe. There are cobblestone roads, the signs are in German, the writing on the chalk board is in old German script, and the soldiers sing German folk tunes. The movie is like a time machine to another age.Read more ›
The Universal DVD release of this film features a great sound transfer: on my six-speaker system, the rumbling explosions, staccato machine guns, and whizzing bullets sounded remarkably nearby. Sadly, the visual transfer was sorely lacking; the source was plagued by jumps, scratches, lines, and breaks throughout the film, and the contrast was sometimes out-of-balance. This cinematic masterpiece demands and deserves to be fully restored, and then remastered and rereleased on DVD.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is rather appropriate during this the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the third year of the bloody and futile First World War to review what is probably the greatest... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Alfred Johnson
Just a great reminder to us of how much suffering soldiers and civilians experience in war. My mother lost two half-brothers in the "war to end all wars". Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Definitely different from the Later version but still a great old film.Published 2 months ago by Chris E. Tinsley
It was too dated; the characters did not come to life; I was very disappointed.Published 2 months ago by Joan
What does it take to get men to fight in a war, and why do they do it? This is a look at world war one from the standpoint of a german soldier. Sobering to say the least. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Doc Greene Sr.
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