Technically, this is the first movie to win "Best Picture," as its name changed from "Best Production" with this movie. Perhaps fate knew a bit. All Quiet on the Western Front is a much better movie than the previous two. While I had a lot of trouble making it through both Wings and Broadway Melody, I had no such trouble with this. Even with it clocking in at almost two hours twenty minutes, All Quiet is a much easier movie to watch.
Yes, there are still some things that date this movie. Mostly, the acting. All of the actors were still in stage mode, meaning that they're still acting to the people in the back row even though the camera is in their face. I'll be curious to see the evolution of that as I watch these movies.
But All Quiet lays the foundation for all war movies to come. You have all of the classic scenes, including the guys talking about death, the reason for the war, a scene with the enemy in a trench, and the hospital scenes. Other movies will go on to expand these (and many more) ideas.
After watching, I wanted to see what I had written after watching for the first time:
October 8, 2002 There were a few interesting things about All Quiet. My first real observation was the soundtrack. Or should I say lack thereof. I liked that you hear the exact same things that the soldiers hear right up until the very end - very effective. There was an interesting scene where the main character Paul is caught in a trench with a man he had just killed. I felt that this was a revelation for the character, and I actually would have liked to have seen more of the scene. Finally, this movie had its message that war is hell. Over 70 years later, and events like 9/11, and people like George W. can't wait to rush off to war. I'm not sure if this film will warrant a repeat viewing anytime soon, but still interesting to see.
I'm glad that I watched this again almost eight years later. Every time I pass the book in a book store, I mentally add it to my "Read it" list. When I do, i'll be sure to post a book report. Good movie - watch it.