Three Comrades (1938) - Rotten Tomatoes

Three Comrades (1938)

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Movie Info

Based on a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, Three Comrades represented one of the few successful screenwriting efforts of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set in Germany in the years just following World War I, the film stars Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone and Robert Young as three battle-weary, thoroughly disillusioned returning soldiers. The three friends pool their savings and open an auto-repair shop, and it is this that brings them in contact with wealthy motorist Lionel Atwill--and with Atwill's lovely travelling companion Margaret Sullavan. Taylor begins a romance with Sullavan, who soon joins the three comrades, making the group a jovial, fun-seeking foursome (this plot element bears traces of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, as well as the 1931 film The Last Flight). Though Sullavan suffers from tuberculosis (her shady past is only alluded to), she is encouraged by her male companions to fully enjoy what is left of her life. This becomes increasingly difficult when one of the comrades, Young, is killed during a political riot (it's a Nazi riot, though not so-labelled by ever-careful MGM). In the end, the four comrades are only two in number, with nothing but memories to see them through the cataclysmic years to come. Despite its Hollywoodized bowdlerization of the Remarque original, Three Comrades remains a poignant, haunting experience.

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Cast

Robert Young
as Gottfried
Guy Kibbee
as Alfons
Lionel Atwill
as Franz Breuer
Henry Hull
as Dr. Heinrich Becker
Charles Grapewin
as Local Doctor
George Zucco
as Dr. Plauten
Charley Grapewin
as Local Doctor
Monty Woolley
as Dr. Jaffe
Spencer Charters
as Herr Schultz
Sarah Padden
as Frau Schultz
Ferdinand Munier
as Burgomaster
Morgan Wallace
as Owner of Wrecked Car
Priscilla Lawson
as Frau Brunner
Esther Muir
as Frau Schmidt
Walter Bonn
as Adjutant
Edward McWade
as Major Domo
Henry Brandon
as Man with Patch
Claire McDowell
as Frau Zalewska
Marjorie Main
as Old Woman
E. Alyn Warren
as Bookstore Owner
Ricca Allen
as Housekeeper
Roger Converse
as Becker's Assistant
Norman Willis
as Vogt Man
William Haade
as Vogt Man
Phillip Terry
as Young Soldier
Harvey Clark
as Bald-Headed Man
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Critic Reviews for Three Comrades

All Critics (6)

A crowd-pleasing tearjerker.

Full Review… | August 2, 2014
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A vision of romance forever on the verge of disintegration

Full Review… | October 6, 2013
CinePassion

Uneven but interesting look at four friends' problems over the years in Germany.

Full Review… | August 5, 2013
Classic Film and Television

Borzage very often captures some potent emotions, almost despite the material.

Full Review… | April 3, 2009
Combustible Celluloid

Sullavan won the New York Film Critic's prize for her role here, and it was deserved: if Ernst Lubitsch's The Shop Around the Corner stands as her best movie, then this is certainly her best performance.

Full Review… | July 26, 2006
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Three Comrades

An uneven effort to show soldiers recovering from war in Germany. More interesting than the actual film is the timing of the film just before the start of the Second World War. There are hidden critiques of the Nazis but the motivation behind releasing it when it was released are baffling.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

½

Love story centering as much on friendships as romance - or perhaps it's better to say an exploration of the commitments of playing wing-man to your buddy's love interest. Well written, well filmed, well edited - the trimming of the script (political connotations) is the only weak point of the film. It's also interesting that Hollywood was allowed to make such a human film about the German people while Naziism was consolidating it's grip on that nation. Kudos.

Christopher Bergan
Christopher Bergan

I watched this a while ago, I barely remember it, but it was okay, not good enough that I remember it though.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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