all quiet on the western front

Extra Milestone – All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Hold on to your helmets, listeners, because the illustrious Julia Teti is back on the Cinemaholics feed! And not a moment too soon, because the two of us are joined by the scintillating Will Ashton to make Extra Milestone history by tackling our second Best Picture Winner, our second 1930s Film, and our first War (and Anti-War) Film with Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front! Celebrating 90 years this past April, the film has built a deserved legacy of being one of the most effective condemnations of combat and warfare in cinema history, and the three of us have plenty to say to support that. The film’s storied production, its unique and controversial release, its eternal relevancy, and much more are discussed, and we even take the time to recommend some complementary films! You’re not gonna want to miss this one.

NEXT WEEK: Emily Kubincanek is back to discuss a trio of iconic Horror Films with me! Tune in to hear us discuss Bride of Frankenstein, Friday the 13th, and Re-Animator!

Music in this episode: Re-release trailer for the film and audio from the final scene (don’t worry, no spoilers here).

Cinemaholics in this episode: Sam Noland, Julia Teti, and Will Ashton

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11 Comments

  1. Great episode. It’s been fun getting these more often and the guests switching up so much. Sam/Will/Julia is a cool combination, though I did miss Jon getting in the muck and cracking dumb jokes. Hope he’s back on soon.

    1. Your prayers will be answered before long! We’re gonna be talking about one of his favorite movies soon, and we’re all excited for it 🙂 Thanks for listening!

  2. As much as I appreciate the movie for AQOTWF, I deeply prefer the book. It’s far more graphic in its depictions of the gore, which further *ahem* fleshes out the core message. I can’t imagine what a remake would be like today (I’ve never seen the 70s version, to be clear).

    1. A remake would almost certainly be far less impactful, but I’d be fascinated to see someone attempt the same cold and unforgiving narrative approach, in spite of how divisive it would likely be. Thanks for listening!

  3. Question for you Sam since you brought it up. What is something Sam Mendes could have done with the filmmaking of 1917 that would have avoided the pitfalls of “video gaming” the horrors of war? I had the same thought but I’m struggling to figure out how modern movies can accomplish this.

    1. That’s a great question, and I’m honestly not convinced that there’s a decent answer; I have no doubt that Sam Mendes – and many other War filmmakers – are aware of the setbacks that come with making combat palatable, at least from a cinematic perspective. The most realistic War movies often take place away from the battlefield entirely (focusing on the experience of Veterans, for instance), but those are often seen simply as Awards Season fodder. Generally speaking, it isn’t easy for modern audiences to be taken by surprise with violence and combat, and if they are it’s usually labeled as “excessive.” I believe that 1917 was actually very smart in its approach; it was exciting and crowd-pleasing, but only because the situation was so stressful, and finally reaching the destination was so cathartic as a result. Since AQOTWF has no real destination, we’re only left with the horror of it all, and we can see clear as day why warfare is so hellish. 1917 asks for our sympathy, while AQOTWF asks for our empathy, and I think they both work in their own ways, even though the second approach does tend to resonate longer than the first. Sorry for the long-winded response; thanks for listening!

      1. Thank you for taking the time to answer this! I’ve been struggling on it even more after listening to the Filmspotting hosts discuss DUNKIRK, and they’re depiction of that movie sort of belies all this context in a way that almost infuriates me. I wish we could have more honest discussions about the way wars are communicated on film, because they make for some of our best movies!

  4. I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like to see this movie on the big screen, especially in the context of audiences back in 1930 not really expecting the violence of war to be so transparently horrific. Would love to hear an episode of EM down the road where you all look back on the films you’ve discussed and maybe pick out some of the…extra extra milestones out of the bunch. Just a suggestion. Keep up the awesome work, all.

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