All Quiet on the Western Front

I just saw All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) for the first time last week. I was so impressed.  It didn’t feel dated. Of course some of the acting was dated but overall I felt it captured the essence of the book. It was a good story, conveyed pacifism and even on a superficial level had good effects and action.  This film would have been even more impressive if it had been one of the earlier films used in widescreen, a process already in limited use but put on the back burner until the age of of television.  

A good acquaintance of mine mentioned his high school teacher opted to show the 1979 version instead of this one, concerned it would not have aged well.  In my opinion he did a great disservice. Students are required to study “old” subject matter including Greek and Roman history, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, etc.  Why not expose them to old films as well?  Shakespeare spoke in a funny language harder to comprehend than a 1930s movie. I do agree a good number of old films don’t age well even films made in the 1980s, however like a good book, a good movie will stand the test of time.  If any 1930s movie should be shown to a classic movie newbie, All Quiet on the Western Front is one that should be screened in a heartbeat.

As a classic film lover, even I was awed at how excellent and timeless this 80 year old film is and I usually prefer romances and happy comedies!  Any teacher who does not show this version to his or her students or any lover of classic cinema who disregards this film as “too old” for newbies is not giving the general public enough credit in taste and intelligence.

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