A Farewell To Arms - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Farewell To Arms Reviews

Page 1 of 3
September 10, 2016
One of the earliest adaptations of Ernest Hemingway that was to be a sure fire success at the Box Office with Rock Hudson.

The film definitely too long hand many great qualities & due to the Author experiencing much of this the story had real authenticity.

The stories gets going half way & has many twists many tragic. Critics seemed to strongly dislike the film but I haven't seen the original 1930's version though.
½ August 28, 2015
It's not as bad as Plan Nine from Outer Space, so it gets a little something for the effort. Neither Rock Hudson nor Jennifer Jones were the right actors to cast for this. Although the 1932 version has numerous problems, not the least of which is cramming Hemingway's novel into 85 minutes (the Reader's Digest very highly condensed version; you needed to read the novel to comprehend the film), Gary Cooper was much, much better as the leading actor and Helen Hayes was much more credible as leading actress even though she was 31 years old during filming (the character is a 24 year old nurse). In addition, at least the parts the 1932 version covered and didn't gloss over remained true to the novel. This 1957 version is of the epic length approaching what is needed for the dense novel, but it fails to convey the novel in many ways. Rock Hudson is too much lover and not enough soldier even though he wasn't too far off from the age of the character he portrayed. Jennifer Jones, at nearly 40, was much too old to play a 24 year old pregnant nurse. They're just not credible. That Jones was David O. Selznick's wife explains her nepotistic casting. Perhaps Hudson's sexual preferences ensured there would be no hanky-panky between them during filming. The screenplay takes enormous liberties with the novel, changing scenes and the plot, and not just a little. The result is a significant portion of the film in Italian and Swiss Alps being little more than a spectacular travelogue, when it's supposed to be in the midst of a horrific war, at least in the Italian portion of the Alps. It's as if they're on a honeymoon holiday with the war a continent away instead of finding love in the middle of one and trying to maintain it in what bits they can between all the intrusions from the war's horrors. In a significant insult to the novel's plot, Major Rinaldi (Vittorio de Sica), Henry's (Hudson) commanding officer is (wrongfully) executed for desertion, and this isn't the only substantial liberty Ben Hecht took with the novel. In the end, it's much too long on the romance and much too short on the war that is supposed to be going on around them, interfering with and frustrating their love, and that's what gets completely lost in this epic spectacle. Hemingway himself was appalled at what Selznick did to his novel. I'm not at all surprised it was rejected by the critics and the audiences when it was released, and that time has continued to reject it.
September 14, 2014
There is a great story in there somewhere but it rarely breaks the surface. Disappointing and boring.
August 21, 2014
Well done but melodramatic in the extreme good suporting actors
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2014
First, David O. Selznick was "Gone with the Wind", and now he's finally getting around to bidding "A Farewell to Arms". Seriously though, Selznick is back to produce yet another high-scale and romantic war melodrama, although, compared to "Gone with the Wind", this film is about as long as, well, the adaptation of this Ernest Hemingway classic that they made back in 1932. Now, with that said, you can leave it to Selznick to take something that was once made into 85-minute-long pseudo-filler, and turn it into a two-and-a-half-hour-long epic... I guess. I don't know if epic filmmaking was that big of trait for the producer, but you know that they're trying to get you to think of "Gone with the Wind" with this film. That was probably not great for Selznick's marriage to Jennifer Jones, because she shouldn't be in this film with Clark Gable on the brain, seeing as how even Rock Hudson, alone, is more than a few stones above Selznick. Man, with "Giant", and then this film, Hudson was really getting into sprawling romantic epics towards the end of the '50s, probably because he wanted to spend as much time as he could showing himself with a woman. Man, this film is cheesy that it might have added to the rumors regarding Hudson's sexuality, but hey, at least it's entertaining, even though it isn't exactly unique.

I was expecting this to be something of a formulaic Hollywood war drama, and sure enough, throughout this sprawling affair, nearly nothing new occurs, leaving predictability to set in, even if you're not already familiar with Ernest Hemingway's classic material. Really, I can't see this film doing a great amount of justice to Hemingway's story, because if nothing else defuses the momentum of this melodrama, it's all of the cheesiness, reflected partly in some lame comic relief, and largely in dialogue that ranges from flat to admittedly unbelievably bad, and whose missteps are recurrent throughout the film, aggravating you and trying your patience, while superficializing the depths of this conceptually heavier subject matter. The glaring missteps in dialogue within Ben Hecht's script are but heights in its gross Hollywood misguidance, because among the tropes hit by this film time and again is Hollywood superficialities and dated dramatic sensibilities, which take the guts out of this promising drama, and make the histrionics harder to embrace in the context of this narrative. I certainly prefer the war segments to the overwrought romance segments, but it doesn't seem as though this film can ever escape overt romanticism that tests believability through manufactures conflicts and overblown melodramatics which cause momentum to fall, though not without help from overblown structuring. This film manages to keep itself pretty busy throughout its course of two-and-a-half hours, so it's never bland, but it might end up finding too much to do, until it loses a sense of progression and conflict at times, or simply wears the audience down when it goes backed by such superficial handlings of material. There's so much value to the concept of this film, and the execution does a lot of things very well, but whenever it gets the chance, this melodrama tries your patience, with conventions, cheese, superficialities and, of course, excess, until the final product falls short of, not simply what it could have been, but rewarding. Still, with plenty of patience, many are sure to be reasonably engaged, and thoroughly entertained, thanks to the film's always working to keep things lively.

Now, when I claim that this 1950s Hollywood epic is wholly unoriginal, you know that nothing is new within Mario Nascimbene's score, yet the film's soundtrack is recurrent and consistently delivers on some sort of perk, highlighted by a sweep that goes matched by Oswald Morris' colorfully light, yet grandly scoped cinematography. The cinematography at least gives you a fine view of the art direction by Mario Garbuglia (Do you think the art departments could use some Italians?) which is, of course nothing unique, but rich and dynamic enough to sell the setting and scale of this war melodrama, just as the performers help in selling what material they can. Well, honestly, I prefer the war segments to the romance segments partly because the beautiful Jennifer Jones doesn't simply not help in selling the hokey material, but makes it all the worse with her cloyingly flamboyant and unconvincing performance, - punctuated by surprisingly solid power in her final scenes - and because just about all of the supporting players during the war segments are surprisingly effective, with some stealing the show from Rock Hudson, who remains endearing in his charisma and sound dramatic touches, even if he can't quite hold up chemistry with the generally flat Jones. The leads' unequal abilities make it even more difficult to buy into the romantic dramatics which should play a large factor in the engagement value, thus, what effectiveness there is hinges on the directorial performance of Charles Vidor, whose sentimentality exacerbates the sting of the melodramatics, but reflects color within Vidor's efforts that frequently entertains, until realization is found, resulting in moments of resonance, especially during a powerful final act which, honestly, is more than the film deserves on the whole. Vidor's efforts are far from outstanding, but they're certainly superior to Ben Hecht's efforts as screenwriter, so much so that without all of the messy writing, this film could have perhaps rewarded, as its engagement value already has a solid head-start, thanks to a worthy story concept. Though excessive in a number of ways, this film at least attempts to capture the layers and scope of Ernest Hemingway's classic novel, and it's hard to hold a melodrama like that too far back, for Hemingway wrote a gripping modernist narrative that, loosely based on personal experiences, married real struggles with rich romanticism, and established sound potential for an epic film. This adaptation is ambitious, but ultimately relatively flat, but only relatively, for although there are many a misguidance, the intrigue of the subject matter itself, brought to life by many a highlight in storytelling, at least bring the final product to the brink of rewarding.

When it is finally time to bid farewell, consistent conventions, cloying cheese, and glaring Hollywood superficialities dilute the effectiveness of the melodrama, while momentum is shaken so greatly by the excessive structuring that the final product wears itself down to an underwhelming point, but just barely, for grand scoring, cinematography and art direction, generally effective performances, and colorful and sometimes resonant direction bring enough life to Ernest Hemingway's excellent subject matter to bring Charles Vidor's "A Farewell to Arms" to the border of rewarding, despite the flaws which still hold it a ways back.

2.75/5 - Decent
July 11, 2014
140711: Had the opportunity; but passed.
½ February 17, 2014
It's the only life I want.

An English nurse has gone into celibacy and become a recluse of sorts after her husband was blown to pieces during World War 1. She encounters an American soldier fighting for the Italian army during the war and they start a torrid affair. They are separated by the war but the nurse becomes pregnant after their encounter. The soldier discovers this news and will stop at nothing to keep them together...but will the war tear them apart?

"I never felt like a whore before."
"You're not a whore."
"I know, darling, but it's not nice to feel like one."

Charles Vidor, director of Gilda, Hans Christain Anderson, Cover Girl, Love Me or Leave Me, The Joker is Wild, The Swan, She's No Lady, and Blind Alley, delivers Farwell to Arms. The storyline for this picture is amazing, compelling, and dramatic. The characters are very dynamic and the script is excellent. The acting is first rate and the cast includes Rock Hudson, Jennifer Jones, Vittorio De Sica, and Elaine Stritch.

"No one likes to attack."
"I like to attack."

I came across this film on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and decided to give it a chance. I found this film very entertaining and I am surprised this received such bad reviews. I would actually compare this to Anna Karenina. This picture receives a lot of bad reviews because of the performances by Jennifer Jones but I honestly thought she was fine and played the simple girl perfectly. Overall, I feel this is an underrated picture that is definitely worth your time.

"What if she should die?"

Grade: A
½ January 26, 2014
i prefer the 1932 version of this but this technicolor version is still watchable this is also the last film produced by the gr8 david o selznick
½ July 4, 2011
Love this Movie, such a Heartfelt Tearjerker
½ August 19, 2010
It's just too long and of course very depressing. I agree with many critics that it doesn't capture the tone of war behind every scene and so becomes more a ho-hum romance between two sometimes strangely acted characters, one that seems emotionally unstable and the other sort of like a male model. OK, normally I like Jennifer Jones, but this film will always be remembered best as the last film Selznick ever did, and some say mercifully so.
June 27, 2010
I don't know why I wanted to watch this, and I truly regret doing so. YAWN.
½ June 26, 2010
A Farewell to Arms is amazing film. Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones worked well together and had great chemistry. Charles Vidor did a great job bringing the screenplay to the big screen. I enjoyed watching this film because it had a remarkable storyline and characters. A Farewell to Arms is highly recommended.
Super Reviewer
½ April 23, 2010
Just okay version of Hemingway story suffers from overlength although it has fine production values. Rock is pretty good in the lead. Jennifer Jones less so as Catherine, affected and rather bland.
½ March 5, 2010
I wonder who Jennifer Jones had to sleep with to get her part in the movie? I guess it was the same man as Rock Hudson had to sleep with to get his part. They are both crap in this movie. Terrible acting, and Hemmingway is probably still spinning in his grave...
½ February 16, 2010
I found this a bit of a damp squid of an epic. For a film produced by Selznick from a novel by Hemingway it should really be a lot better. The intensity of both love and war, that Selznick's Gone With the Wind committed so timelessly to celluloid, is lacking here. It's not good enough merely to look the part, and grand visuals can not make up for an uncomfortable lead pairing and a weak and meandering script.
½ October 31, 2009
The only parts worth watching are the vistas of the Italian Alps, Venzone in the Province of Udine. Hudson and Jones are miscast IMHO.
September 25, 2009
Well, for starters...he falls in love with a girl after like a minute. Then, they shoot off cannons in the Alps. Hello avalanche! I also wonder why the Swiss were burning snowmen New Year's Eve...? It was alright. I wonder what the version made 25 years before is like. Silly movies. Also didn't realize it was a love story instead of a war movie. Sad one at that. Shows how much I know.
June 2, 2009
Can I just say that we fast forwarded to the end to make sure that Catherine died?
May 31, 2009
Magnificent scenery but the story is just tragic.
May 31, 2009
Magnificent scenery but the story is just tragic.
Page 1 of 3