A Farewell to Arms Reviews
SPOILER ALERT. Unfortunately we know that Catherine's "sin" cannot go unpunished. Could be compared to Romeo and Juliet plot. Everyone seems to conspire against the lovers, especially his Captain and her so-called "friend" Fergie. I wondered why Catherine had such an unsupportive friend. Her character is far too passive to be an admirable heroine.
The whole movie is very well set up from the beginning, when the pregnant nurse is sent away, Fergie's first words to Frederick bad-mouth men and the Captain's dependency on Lt. Henry for companionship/money is shown. For modern audiences, ending is too long delayed, after Frederick deserts and why he isn't allowed to visit his dying "wife" is unfathomable. And Wagner playing as Catherine dies is just too over-the-top!
It functions on two levels: an epic romance and a powerful anti-war statement.
There isn't anything else to say, this is an absolute masterpiece.
Yet, it doesn't feel like a classic. The romance seems trite and contrived. Overly schmaltzy and sometimes just plain dull.
The acting is patchy. Gary Cooper is okay, but Helen Hayes' performance is quite flat. Most entertaining performance comes from Adolphe Menjou as Rinaldi.
It was probably quite good in its time, and might well be regarded as one of the first anti-war movies, but it now feels quite dated.