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Essay on all quiet on the western front movie

The film was advertised with the brooding face of one of the young German recruits sent into World War I.

  • The Germans are already suffering from lack of supplies and food;
  • For the others, the older men, it is but an interruption;
  • The mobile camera travels over the heads of the men in the trench evidently one of the earliest uses of a crane shot in any film;
  • Are your mothers so weak that they cannot send a son to defend the land which gave them birth?!
  • Seven naive boys including Paul Baumer 21 year old Lew Ayres in a star-making role and his friends Kropp, Leer, and Kemmerick , each young and impressionable, are recruited and trained to fight for the glory of the fatherland.

It was a critical and financial success, and probably the greatest of pacifist, anti-war films - the grainy black and white film is still not dated and the film hasn't lost its initial impact. The episodic film is still one of the few early sound films that modern audiences watch.

However, it was criticized as being propagandistic and anti-militaristic.

Views of War as Portyayed in All Quiet on the Western Front

For its perceived anti-German message, it was denounced by the Nazi government in Berlin of the 30s and subsequently banned. The film was made only a dozen years following the end of the Great War, and the memories of the war were still fresh. Before it, other war films in the silent era had done very well: Coming as it did with the dawning of sound pictures, its directors and producer, and at least one cast member went on to future fame: A prologue, that introduces the film, was taken almost verbatim from the foreword to Remarque's novel: This story is neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it.

It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war. Unlike Remarque's novel that begins with the young men already at war, with flashbacks to earlier times, the film is told in a logical, chronological fashion.

The content of the film can be divided into four distinct parts: The film begins innocently enough. In a small German town, a conversation is being carried on between a charwoman who is scrubbing the floor and an elderly janitor who is polishing door knobs: No, from the French.

From the Russians we capture more than that every day. As he opens the door, spike-helmeted German soldiers in 1914 uniforms march off to war to the nationalistic sounds of martial music played by a military bandand the sight of flags flying and cheering crowds. The normal routines of life continue - however, life will be changing.

  1. I don't see that.
  2. They have been killed once again; but each of them that was flung up saved one of us" 81. Senselessly, many of Paul's boyhood friends are killed.
  3. I believe it will be a quick war, that there will be few losses.

A meek postman, Himmelstoss John Wraydelivers the mail, but he will soon be joining the reserves and will play a significant role in the film. Framed by the windows of a German school, the military parade can be seen outside. The camera pulls back through the window into the schoolroom, where elderly, war-mongering, nationalistic teacher Professor Kantorek Arnold Lucy preaches to a class of young German boys. He advocates "glory for the Fatherland," inspiring and rousing the entire class of young boys to enlist in the army and fight Germany's enemies.

The jingoistic school master lectures to his young charges, who sit and listen intently at their school desks: You are the life of the Fatherland, you boys. You are the iron men of Germany. You are the gay heroes who will repulse the enemy when essay on all quiet on the western front movie are called upon to do so. It is not for me to suggest that any of you should stand up and offer to defend his country.

But I wonder if such a thing is going through your heads? I know that in one of the schools, the boys have risen up in the classroom and enlisted in a mass. But, of course, if such a thing should happen here, you would not blame me for a feeling of pride.

Perhaps, some will say that you should not be allowed to go yet, that you are too young, that you have homes, mothers, fathers, that you should not be torn away. Are your fathers so forgetful of their Fatherland that they would let it perish rather than you? Are your mothers so weak that they cannot send a son to defend the land which gave them birth?! And after all, is a little experience such a bad thing for a boy? Is the honor of wearing a uniform something from which we should run?

And if our young ladies glory in those who wear it, is that anything to be ashamed of? I know you have never desired the adulation of heroes. That has not been part of my teaching. We have sought to make ourselves worthy and let acclaim come when it would.

But to be foremost in battle is a virtue not to be despised. I believe it will be a quick war, that there will be few losses. But if losses there must be, then let us remember the Latin phrase which must have come to the lips of many a Roman when he stood embattled in a foreign land: I know of one young man who has great promise as a writer, and he has written the first act of a tragedy which would be a credit to one of the masters.

And he is dreaming, I suppose, of following in the footsteps of Goethe and Schiller, and I hope he will. But now our country calls! The Fatherland needs leaders!!

Personal ambition must be thrown aside in the one great sacrifice for our country! Here is a glorious beginning to your lives!

The fields of honor calls you. Inspired by the uplifting rhetoric of their teacher, the boys rise one by one to their feet, promising to go.

The group of German school boys enthusiastically cheer and volunteer to enlist for service in World War I. The young men who will soon become the central characters of the film are introduced. Seven naive boys including Paul Baumer 21 year old Lew Ayres in a star-making role and his friends Kropp, Leer, and Kemmerickeach young and impressionable, are recruited and trained to fight for the glory of the fatherland.

Arriving in training camp, the young boys expect war to be a great lark. They enthusiastically talk about fighting, using bayonets, riding cavalry, or killing the enemy, but soon, the schoolmaster's words fade from their memories. They are trained by drill sergeant Himmelstoss, the ex-village postmaster who has become a disliked, sadistically brutal commander. During training, he proves to the recruits how they must obey his commands: The first thing to do is to forget everything you ever knew, everything you ever learned - Forget!

Forget what you've been, and what you think you're going to be. You're going to be soldiers, and that's all. I'll take the mother's milk out of you, I'll make you hard-boiled. I'll make soldiers out of you, or kill you!

Himmelstoss takes pleasure during their training days in ordering the recruits to march into mud, fall down to the ground and crawl forward in the muck. After being dismissed one day, a recruit bitterly complains about Himmelstoss: Means we get no time off. Four hours to get ready for inspection. On the way to the front lines after being ordered there by rail, the new recruits disembark in a shell-torn French town.

There, they hear the scream of enemy shells for the first time. The Germans are already suffering from lack of supplies and food. The raw recruits are greeted by disillusioned, cynically-stoic veterans of the war. Fresh from the turnip patch. We've been here since yesterday morning and we've been living on a bale of hay and razor blades. In a dramatic entrance, the incomparable Katczinsky arrives with a pig over his shoulders.

All Quiet on the Western Front Essay | Essay

Obviously, he has learned how to live amidst the horrors and deprivations of war. He instructs the young recruits: Hey, this is no parade ground. Soon, everyone is devouring the whole pig.

  1. The fields of honor calls you.
  2. Iron-willed Katczkinsky strikes another one who has a nervous breakdown under the strain. In short, the glorified notion of war and honor are proven to be false—along with the concept of an enemy itself.
  3. Paul turns, writhes, and cringes in horror against his rifle stock.

That evening, the young boys are ordered to the front for "wiring duty" - their mission is to string barbed wire during the middle of the night. One of the recruits soils his pants and Katczinsky is reassuring, as the camera trucks along in front of the soldiers: It's happened to better men than you. And it's happened to me. When we come back, I'll get you all some nice, clean underwear. He instructs them in proper protection from shell fire: Those big fellas just make a lot of noise and land about five miles behind the line.

The things we've got to watch out for are them black ones. They don't give you much warning. Mother Earth - press yourselves down upon her. Bury yourselves deep into her. Just keep your eyes on me. When you see me flop, you flop, only try to beat me to it.

One of the boys is blinded by shell fire and screams: The students learn that war is not noble - it is no more than cruel death and destruction. Katczkinsky explains how foolish it was for one of the recruits to go and retrieve his friend - the corpse of the dead man. Why did you risk your life bringing him in? But it's Behm, my friend. Now, don't any of ya ever do that again. The next day, Katczinsky tells the exhausted Paul about the war and the interminable march they are about to take to another "party": For days on end, they sit terrified, hungry, disheveled and tired in a dug-out underground bunker, hearing the ever-present sound of bombs exploding above them.