All Quiet on the Western Front Reviews
First thing I noticed was the story has been mixed up a bit, its not in the same order as the original, everything seems to have been translated across but in different stages of the film. This does actually work because it doesn't just seem like a carbon copy. There are also a lot more details in some sequences with different ideas for settings and locations, new angles and edits upgrading the whole film somewhat. Basically upgrading most aspects giving them a new modern spin (for the time).
On the whole it does look better in places, a good example I prefer being the bleak ending in this version over the original. Its still the same but with a slightly differently approach and NOT showing the sniper. All that is heard is the fire of a rifle and then a cut to Baumers hands as they react and his body slumps into the mud, possibly more effective and harrowing than the original 1930's sequence.
The cast are again solid for this adaptation with Borgnine playing the role of Stanislaus Katzinsky perfectly and maybe better than the original actor in 1930. Donald Pleasance is the German teacher whom regales the young German boys with propaganda and the glory of war. Holm as the over the top Corporal Himmelstoss giving him a slimy, backstabbing, cowardly glow and finally Richard Thomas looking just the part in his WW1 German uniform although coming across a little bland.
The scope isn't quite on par with the 30's version, its still very good and very bleak but its missing that epic feel which I guess is down to it being a TV movie. A shame really because this story deserves a much wider scope, none the less this version is still the business. The whole production is very authentic with good costumes, vehicles, landscapes, weapons etc...The battles are good but not overly grand whilst the waste of life, cheapness of life, desolation and despair is well conceived throughout. No shying away from the grim horrors of war when it came to the mud soaked trenches.
Its a shame this has been overshadowed somewhat as its a very good war film and manages to recreate WW1 just as well as its predecessor. Its still rough, gritty and somewhat shocking as it offers new perspectives from the last movie version of the story. Its easily a must see if you liked the 1930's film, its just as interesting, memorable and poignant.
(1979) All Quiet On The Western Front
Without viewers seeing the original 1930 "All Quiet On the Western Front" version, wouldn't be able to understand this made for TV version starring Richard Thomas as the title character, Paul. The main difference with the two versions is that in this one, Paul 'narrates' his war experiences who initially had aspirations to become a writer. Some of the other differences also include Paul playing dead , as well as the horses being caught in the crossfire. And war medals are given out