A FAREWELL TO ARMS (1932) B/W 90m dir: Frank Borzage
w/Helen Hayes, Gary Cooper, Adolphe Menjou, Mary Philips, Jack LaRue, Blanche Frederici, Henry Armetta, George Humbert, Mary Forbes
From The Movie Guide: "Frank Borzage's masterful adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's celebrated novel stars Gary Cooper as Lt. Frederic Henry, an American adventurer serving in the Italian ambulance corps during WWI, and Helen Hayes as Catherine Barkley, the beautiful English nurse with whom he falls madly in love. When Lt. Henry returns to the front, his jealous friend and superior, Maj. Rinaldi (Adolphe Menjou), intervenes to disrupt their budding romance. Nonetheless the two share a blissful interlude in Milan before Henry returns to the war and Catherine travels to Switzerland to have their baby. ...
"Despite Hemingway's reported disgust with the film's comparatively optimistic ending, A FAREWELL TO ARMS is generally faithful to his novel. Director Borzage is at his best here as he utilizes light and movement like brushstrokes to paint a beautifully romantic melodrama with the aid of cinematographer Charles Lang. Borzage's focus is on the love story, but his sweeping battle scenes, loaded with armies of extras, smack of war-torn reality, especially the famous retreat from Caporetto, brilliantly captured in montage. And the performances, while a trifle overblown by modern standards, are so powerful that the film retains its emotional jolt. Hayes was never more appealing, Menjou is at his manipulative best, Cooper displays tremendous depth of feeling, and the supporting work is equally accomplished.
"The story is drawn from Hemingway's WWI experiences, his battlefield injury, and his love affair with Agnes von Kurowsky. A Farewell to Arms was adapted for the screen twice more: in 1950 as FORCE OF ARMS with William Holden and Nancy Olsen, and under the original title in 1957 with Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones."
A FAREWELL TO ARMS won two Oscars: Best Cinematography (Lang) and Sound (Harold C. Lewis). It was also nominated for Best Picture and Art Direction (Hans Dreier, Roland Anderson).