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(Review originally written at 19 November 2008)

This is a movie that actually doesn't really have a main plot-line in terms of following one main character and have a clear beginning, middle part and end. Just like war there is no logic in it and things just happen within this movie as the movie moves along. It puts you right in the middle of things and shows you the madness of war.

It handles all different kinds of aspects from the war. It doesn't only show the situation from the viewpoint of the young soldiers but it also focuses on the family and girls back home. It doesn't do this by featuring it too prominently but picks out an handful of minor characters and just a couple of sequences to get the message across. This works out really well and it doesn't feel melodramatic or anything like that. Modern movies can really learn something from this.

But of course foremost the movie gets set in the trenches, somewhere in France. The movie is filled with some WW I battle sequences, which are all surprising good and authentic looking. Guess lots of materials and places from WW I were still around during the production of this movie so they did not have an hard time recreating the look and feeling of the battles fought out in the trenches.

It was the first sound movie from Georg Wilhelm Pabst and this shows. Nothing too major, it are just some little things showing you that 'talkies' hadn't been around yet for very long and Georg Wilhelm Pabst wasn't also too experienced with it yet. He pretty much shot this movie in the same way as he would had filmed a silent movie.

The movie is of course also original with the fact that it tells the story from the German point of view. While watching this movie you don't actually ever give you the feeling you're watching the movie from the 'evil' and bad point of view. All parties are more or less victims within a war and things are not as black & white as they always seem.

Simply a real good and effective WW I production, especially when considering that it got shot way back in 1930.

8/10

About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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