Anyone Seen The 2022 "All Quiet On The Western Front?"

Fryowa

Administrator
Watched it last night. I'm a history buff & student so take the below with that in mind.

I read the book in college (on my own) and it was great. My dad was a Vietnam vet and even though the situation and circumstances were different, AQOTWF (the novel) is one of the best books as far as describing the human condition of war.

The 2022 movie is streaming on Netflix and I highly recommend it. It doesn't follow the book to a T and there are some chronological differences when it does, but it does a great job of conveying the mood and themes of the book. I also like how the movie includes a somewhat parallel plot regarding the Armistice...which rather than being distracting, actually adds to reinforcing the theme. In the book we get an uber "micro view" of war being hell rather than glory, and the Armistice sub-plot really does a great job of transferring that theme to the macro story of WW1 as well.

The scenes depicting the Armistice negotiations are great. Erzberger's character almost makes you sympathize with his position, but in the end his asking Ferdinand Foch for concessions and "mercy" to German soldiers really shows you the arrogance and stupidity of the Kaiser and his chancellor. They were the ones who did the invading and now they wanted a "fair" resolution. I don't know who the actor who plays Foch is, but the look on his face throughout the negotiations tells the whole feeling of the French people without saying hardly any words.

Great flick, I recommend checking it out.
 

HawkGold

Well-Known Member
Watched it last night. I'm a history buff & student so take the below with that in mind.

I read the book in college (on my own) and it was great. My dad was a Vietnam vet and even though the situation and circumstances were different, AQOTWF (the novel) is one of the best books as far as describing the human condition of war.

The 2022 movie is streaming on Netflix and I highly recommend it. It doesn't follow the book to a T and there are some chronological differences when it does, but it does a great job of conveying the mood and themes of the book. I also like how the movie includes a somewhat parallel plot regarding the Armistice...which rather than being distracting, actually adds to reinforcing the theme. In the book we get an uber "micro view" of war being hell rather than glory, and the Armistice sub-plot really does a great job of transferring that theme to the macro story of WW1 as well.

The scenes depicting the Armistice negotiations are great. Erzberger's character almost makes you sympathize with his position, but in the end his asking Ferdinand Foch for concessions and "mercy" to German soldiers really shows you the arrogance and stupidity of the Kaiser and his chancellor. They were the ones who did the invading and now they wanted a "fair" resolution. I don't know who the actor who plays Foch is, but the look on his face throughout the negotiations tells the whole feeling of the French people without saying hardly any words.

Great flick, I recommend checking it out.
Have you seen the first 2 makes of the movie?
 

Fryowa

Administrator
Have you seen the first 2 makes of the movie?
Yes. The 1930 one is spectacular; the 1979 is complete garbage.

The 1979 film is just a movie glorifying war and paints Paul as a hero-type tough guy which is exactly the thing that Remarque's novel was trying to dispel. It's ridiculous and it's apparent that the producers never read the book or watched the first film.

Paul going to his mother's house and telling her he was just fine and not suffering when he was in reality? Total "tough guy" move and exact opposite of what Remarque was trying to do with that scene in the novel.

At the end, Paul in the trenches looking after younger soldiers, sketching a bird, getting shot through the heart while watching the bird, dying like some moralistic, heroic martyr? Gimme a break. Remarque rolled over in his grave when that thing came out.

They even added boot camp and made Paul out to be some quiet, confident hero who survived the brutality of their German equivalent to a drill sergeant.

The only way that film works is if it was intended as irony because the whole thing was completely opposite to every reality that the author was trying to say about war. But it wasn't done as irony.
 

Casey388

Well-Known Member
I have this in my watch list and hopefully will get to it on Friday. Fryowa your review has definitely bumped it up the list. These types of historical films are always ones I enjoy.
 

HawkGold

Well-Known Member
I read the book in HS and saw the first 2 movies. As I've mentioned before I am a published author on WW2 history and still speak some on the subject, most recently in Mt. Pleasant. I'm not an expert on WW1 but do know a bit about it.

1. This is a good movie. It does capture a good deal of war through a soldier's eyes. Most movies would be just as well off sticking to the script which this one did not across the board.

2. Soldiers are no longer effective in combat after 120 to 140 days total. They lose focus and can't really function anymore as a general rule. War such as WW1 and WW2 become about boredom, drudgery, exhaustion, trauma, and so on. They become dead to the senses.

3. The movie has a German feel to it though it captures emotions, it is done through the German culture. of duty. In WW1, Iowa was more split than you might think due to the Iowa German heritage. The music at times had a weird yet effective feel to it.

4. The battlefields as gory and bloody as depicted don't really capture it. Saving Private Ryan is one of the best at that...keeping in mind they were fresh troops. The uniforms were too fresh in battle. They depicted used uniforms well at the beginning, but not as the war went on. The movie also missed the impact of the Nebraska/Spanish flu and the impact on the soldiers, particularly the Germans who were having severe replacement issues. As a side note, I've been to several Ukrainian military bases as a side note and they wore worn out/patched-up uniforms, bad beyond belief, so I was particularly interested in the patched-up used German uniforms. Weapons and equipment were in bad repair and tended to look WW2 era. Major airbases had very primitive radar.

5. The Germans had an elaborate system for quarters and defenses. They lived pretty well compared to the Allies, but late in the war supplies were gone.

6. The movie can't capture the smells of war, but that is one of the worst aspects.

7. If I remember correctly the author served mostly in Belgium. The scenes with the local farmer and his son don't make sense. The French in WW2 moved out of the way and had an underground. The Dutch had a well-networked underground. The Belgians tended in both 1 and 2 to live their lives regardless of soldiers from either country. They fed and warmed both sides. No civilian was likely to shoot at enemy soldiers, much less kill one. Interesting but a far-fetched story likely. Same way in Alsace. French and Germans lived among each other. In ww2 the Belgians would frustrate American soldiers by not getting out of the way as they got accustomed to Germans and war in 1940 and WW1.

8. The Wermacht in WW2 (rank and file German soldiers) on the western front used a lot of WW1 weapons. American troops in combat often felt sorry for the Germans fighting with bolt action rifles agaisnt US M1 Garand. Many US soldier went to France with M1 Carbines but would get rid of them as soon as they could and pick up a Garand. The US soldiers called the Carbine's pea shooters and didn't scare the Germans. The Garand scared them badly. Btw, WW1 machine guns are being used in Ukraine. Effective and deadly and old.

All said, a movie worth seeing.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
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7. If I remember correctly the author served mostly in Belgium. The scenes with the local farmer and his son don't make sense. The French in WW2 moved out of the way and had an underground. The Dutch had a well-networked underground. The Belgians tended in both 1 and 2 to live their lives regardless of soldiers from either country. They fed and warmed both sides. No civilian was likely to shoot at enemy soldiers, much less kill one. Interesting but a far-fetched story likely. Same way in Alsace. French and Germans lived among each other. In ww2 the Belgians would frustrate American soldiers by not getting out of the way as they got accustomed to Germans and war in 1940 and WW1.
Funny you mention that…

Remarque did indeed serve in Belgium, but contrary to the book the 2022 movie sets the farm they steal from in the Champagne region of France. French “peasantry” at the time was adversarial. They didn’t resist, so to speak, but they were adversarial.

Regarding the scene in the movie, it’s an Easter egg of sorts and a tribute to Remarque himself. The scene wasn’t from the book, but Remarque described an incident in interviews after his book came out in which two soldiers were shot by a fed up farmer for repeatedly stealing geese and chickens. The farmer got a firing squad in front of his family. The director of the film added that to the movie as both a sidebar to the story and a proverbial shout out to Erich Remarque.
 

HawkGold

Well-Known Member
Funny you mention that…

Remarque did indeed serve in Belgium, but contrary to the book the 2022 movie sets the farm they steal from in the Champagne region of France. French “peasantry” at the time was adversarial. They didn’t resist, so to speak, but they were adversarial.

Regarding the scene in the movie, it’s an Easter egg of sorts and a tribute to Remarque himself. The scene wasn’t from the book, but Remarque described an incident in interviews after his book came out in which two soldiers were shot by a fed up farmer for repeatedly stealing geese and chickens. The farmer got a firing squad in front of his family. The director of the film added that to the movie as both a sidebar to the story and a proverbial shout out to Erich Remarque.
Thx for clarifying.

Was the farmer scene as he told something he personally knew of or from someone else? US soldiers in WW2 had their incidents with locals/food and rape. The Belgians generally did just go on with life in both wars

In 2 the Dutch were different and resisted strongly in various ways. But there were for sure collaborators that did inform the Germans where US troops were. US troops loved the Dutch, but were generally nervous about armed civilians in their midst and at times wished they'd just go away. The Dutch were ecstatic to see the arrival of Allied troops in Market Garden, but the operation was actually a colossal Allied defeat and created severe hardship for the civilians.

US troops in Germany experienced emotional turmoil as the people they most closely could identify with were...... Germans.
 

dagdaj

Well-Known Member
Loved it.
Felt very true to what the experience was. Awful awful awful brutal brutal battle.
And a lot of sitting around with people you're forced to bond with, just trying to survive even when you're not in the midst of horror.

And the final hours of the 11th day of the 11th month are enigmatic and varied. They range from demonic to heroic, on all sides.

My prevailing thoughts, though, did the current director make the movie that the original author would have written today? The themes are the same, but the weight attributed to them is different and the way they're depicted is different. Instead of going home on furlough, there's just lots of discussion about how life will be after, which to me.....doesn't carry the weight of the actual furlough element did in the book. Then again, it's a movie and there's only so much time.

The lead's death in the movie is handled well. But again, enough different that it *could* rankle me. It doesn't. But hard to argue there's more drama in the story the movie tells than the book. Following the book so directly might feel a bit of a letdown to a movie watcher? I dunno.

It's not a criticism (capital "C" as in, 'it was a bad choice'). More like literary criticism....thinking about the choices to make those changes. That's all.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
Loved it.
Felt very true to what the experience was. Awful awful awful brutal brutal battle.
And a lot of sitting around with people you're forced to bond with, just trying to survive even when you're not in the midst of horror.

And the final hours of the 11th day of the 11th month are enigmatic and varied. They range from demonic to heroic, on all sides.

My prevailing thoughts, though, did the current director make the movie that the original author would have written today? The themes are the same, but the weight attributed to them is different and the way they're depicted is different. Instead of going home on furlough, there's just lots of discussion about how life will be after, which to me.....doesn't carry the weight of the actual furlough element did in the book. Then again, it's a movie and there's only so much time.

The lead's death in the movie is handled well. But again, enough different that it *could* rankle me. It doesn't. But hard to argue there's more drama in the story the movie tells than the book. Following the book so directly might feel a bit of a letdown to a movie watcher? I dunno.

It's not a criticism (capital "C" as in, 'it was a bad choice'). More like literary criticism....thinking about the choices to make those changes. That's all.
The movie and the book both stand on their own, separate legs. Yes the movie needs to follow the book in a thematic sense, but would a carbon copy of the book really be as interesting? I’m my opinion the Armistice storyline of the movie added depth to the story without detracting from it. And the furlough storyline from the book would’ve been impossible to do in a 2 1/2 hour movie. Hell, that part of the book could easily be its own movie.

At the end of the day, a movie based on a novel has to take a story that needs usually 6-8 hours to read and condense it into a couple hours, all while making it palatable for audiences. What’s really critical is that the movie convey the same themes and intent of the author, and this 2022 version does it as well as the first film and much, much better than the 70s version.
 

HawkGold

Well-Known Member
So much goes on behind the scene of real war.

For example, at Bastogne and the famous "Nuts" proclamation where General McAuliffe defiantly told the Germans off for the surrender ultimatum was much more dramatic and a lot less heroic than that. The Gen knew the 101st was in serious trouble and was really struggling to figure things out when the ultimatum came. His first response? "Aw Nuts! What are we going to do now?". His junior officer said, why don't you tell them what you just told me? "Nuts".

The Germans actually broke 101 lines and had tanks in Bastogne. They overran the 327 2nd Bn Glidermen that had 3 companies facing a whole division of armor. A random shell shot from miles away hit the German Commander's command center killing 12 of 13 people in it. Only the General survived and he was never informed of the breakthrough. They'd had enough of taking a beating in breaking through. He broke off and a superior general came and led basically the same attackers a couple of days later to the west against 3Bn which with backs against the wall knocked the hell out of the tanks. The Germans gave up trying to take Bastogne.

Movies can really influence opinion. Many think Easy 506 won WW2 all by themselves basically. They saw the least amount of action of any rifle company in the 101st Airborne in WW2. Band of Brothers focused on the nurse and a medic at Bastogne as Easy just didn't see much action. Same in Holland after the first couple of days. In France, by far they lost most of their KIA in plane crashes. Lt. Sobel was way overplayed. He later killed himself. At Foy, the village went back and forth between the Americans and Germans with Easy being only one of a number of companies from 2 regiments that fought there.

I really did like the Verdun negotiations in the movie. Could be a movie in itself. Over 10,000 soldiers were killed on the last day of fighting. Crazy.
 

dagdaj

Well-Known Member
The movie and the book both stand on their own, separate legs. Yes the movie needs to follow the book in a thematic sense, but would a carbon copy of the book really be as interesting? I’m my opinion the Armistice storyline of the movie added depth to the story without detracting from it. And the furlough storyline from the book would’ve been impossible to do in a 2 1/2 hour movie. Hell, that part of the book could easily be its own movie.

At the end of the day, a movie based on a novel has to take a story that needs usually 6-8 hours to read and condense it into a couple hours, all while making it palatable for audiences. What’s really critical is that the movie convey the same themes and intent of the author, and this 2022 version does it as well as the first film and much, much better than the 70s version.

I don't disagree. I was just musing.
In the book, the lead's death has a lot of power in it's.....it's......almost 'mundaneness'?
My initial thought though, was actually, is the manner of the lead's death in the movie actually the ending the author would have written if he felt he could? A little more straightforward in it's condemnation?

I mean, that book took a lot of balls to write. I swear I wrote a high school lit. class paper once where I compared it to M*A*S*H*...the movie. Not the book. I mean, MASH wasn't just about the human impact of war, and the disconnect between the people who are there and the people who sent them there...and how that forces them to extract from the rest of the world. It's also so metaphorically about what came after Korea.....ie....Vietnam. I mean, they explicitly put people in those conical hats that are relatively rare in Korea, but not Vietnam. I didn't keep any work from high school. Had it been college, I'd still have it. That was kinda my angle in lit classes. Make bold comparisons, but back them up with examples and logic and it was almost always an easy A.

It took a lot of guts to make MASH, but they had to use some subterfuge (like the hats) to "get it past the executives". I wonder if in the late 20s when he wrote the book if he kinda felt he had to do the same. He certainly took shots his shots at the powers that be, but he had to do so with a little more subtly in order to insure an audience and, you know, not get put up against the wall?

I dunno. I think, the author probably would have high praise for the movie. He'd probably love to have a midqual (not a sequal, not a prequal).....like you say, a standalone movie detailing the furlough.

It would be a great story. Just a rather, uhm.......dull movie. Maybe a great one, if perfectly executed. Just not the kind of thing more than about 50 people would pay money for. I would agree the movie did a good enough job getting that theme across, if you were paying attention.
 
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