Archive for November 6th, 2008


Next up in the reverse countdown of top 25 1930s films, as no 8 Only Angels Have Wings has already been covered, is no 7, which also continues the World War I masterworks series…

by Allan Fish

(France 1937 117m) DVD1/2

Aka. Grand Illusion

Poor geranium

p  Frank Rollmer, Albert Pinkovitch  d  Jean Renoir  w  Jean Renoir, Charles Spaak  ph  Christian Matras, Claude Renoir  ed  Marguerite Renoir, Marthe Huguet  m  Joseph Kosma  m/ly  Vincent Telly, Albert Valsien  art  Eugène Lourie  cos  Decrais

Jean Gabin (Marechal), Erich Von Stroheim (Von Rauffenstein), Pierre Fresnay (Capt.de Boeldieu), Marcel Dalio (Rosenthal), Julien Carette (Cartier), Edouard Dasté (teacher), Dita Parlo (Elsa), Gaston Modot (surveyor),

Based on the experiences of a flyer he knew during the war, Renoir’s La Grande Illusion is unquestionably one of the masterpieces of the silver screen, a film of incredible humanity set during a period of great inhumanity.  In short, it’s probably the greatest anti-war film ever made, a film that cannot help but move people every time they see it.  (more…)

Read Full Post »


the next in the continuing series of masterworks set during World War I

by Allan Fish

(Germany 1930 97m) DVD2 (Germany only, no Eng subs)

Aka. Vier von der Infanterie

That lovely trench

Seymour Nebenzal  d  Georg W.Pabst  w  Ladislaw Wajda, Peter Martin Lempel  novel  Ernst Johanssen  ph  Fritz Arno Wagner, Charles Metain  ed  Hans Oser  m  Alexander Laszlo  art  Ernö Metzner

Gustav Diessl (Karl), Fritz Kampers (The Bavarian), Claus Clausen (The Lieutenant), Hans Joachim Moebis (The student), Gustav Puttjer (Hamburger), Hanna Hoessrich (Karl’s wife), Jackie Monnier (Yvette), Else Heller (Karl’s mother), Carl Valhaus (butcher),

G.W.Pabst’s anti-war tract is an important film in cinema history for several reasons.  Not merely for the obvious connection to kindred spirit masterworks All Quiet on the Western Front and Les Croix de Bois, or merely as a companion piece to Pabst’s following film, Kameradschaft, which though set in the mines on the Franco-German border, had the same message at its core.  It’s most important for the fact of its revolutionary use of sound.  One must remember that it came out in May 1930, several months before the Lewis Milestone film premiered in Hollywood.  It can thus be seen as the first film to really show the possibilities of the new sound medium, beyond the use of dialogue and singing employed by the likes of Clair and Lubitsch.  (more…)

Read Full Post »