ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930) B/W 130m dir: Lewis Milestone
w/Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Slim Summerville, Russell Gleason, William Bakewell, Scott Kolk, Walter Rogers, Ben Alexander, Owen Davis Jr., Arnold Lucy
From The Movie Guide: "A remarkably faithful adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's classic pacifist novel, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT is perhaps the greatest antiwar film ever made, holding considerable power even now due to Lewis Milestone's inventive direction.
"Set during WWI and told from the German point of view, the story centers on Paul Baumer (Lew Ayres). A sensitive youth, Baumer is recruited by a war-mongering professor (Arnold Lucy) advocating 'glory for the Fatherland.' Paul and his friends enlist and are trained by Himmelstoss (John Wray), a kindly postmaster turned brutal corporal, then sent to the front lines to taste battle, blood, and death. Paul comes under the protective wing of an old veteran, Katczinsky (Louis Wolheim), who teaches him how to survive the horrors of war.
"The film is emotionally draining, and so realistic that it will be forever etched in the mind of any viewer. Milestone's direction is frequently inspired, most notably during the battle scenes. In one such scene, the camera serves as a kind of machine gun, shooting down the oncoming troops as it glides along the trenches. Universal spared no expense during production, converting more than 20 acres of a large California ranch into battlefields occupied by more than 2,000 ex-servicemen extras. After its initial release, some foreign countries refused to run the film. Poland banned it for being pro-German, while the Nazis labeled it anti-German. Joseph Goebbels, later propaganda minister, publicly denounced the film."
The film won two Oscars: Best Picture and Director. It was also nominated for Best Screenplay (George Abbott, Maxwell Anderson, Del Andrews) and Cinematography (Arthur Edeson).