AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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All Quiet on the Western Front
Director: Lewis Milestone (Dir)
Release Date:   24 Aug 1930
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 29 Apr 1930
Duration (in mins):   152
Duration (in feet):   12,423
Duration (in reels):   14
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Cast:   Louis Wolheim (Kat [Katczinsky])  
    Lew Ayres (Paul [Bäumer])  
    John Wray (Himmelstoss)  
    Arnold Lucy (Kantorek)  
    Ben Alexander (Kemmerich)  
    Scott Kolk (Leer)  
    Owen Davis Jr. (Peter)  
    Walter Browne Rogers (Behn)  
    William Bakewell (Albert)  
    Russell Gleason (Mueller)  
    Richard Alexander (Westhus)  
    Harold Goodwin (Detering)  
    "Slim" Summerville (Tjaden)  
    Pat Collins (Bertinck)  
    Beryl Mercer (Paul's mother)  
    ZaSu Pitts (Paul's mother)  
    Edmund Breese (Herr Meyer)  
    Edwin Maxwell (Mr. Bäumer)  
    Marion Clayton (Miss Bäumer)  
    Yola d'Avril (Suzanne)  
    Poupée Andriot (French girl)  
    Renée Damonde (French girl)  
    Arnold Lucy (Kantorek)  
    William Irving (Ginger)  
    Heinie Conklin (Hammacher)  
    Bertha Mann (Sister Libertine)  
    Bodil Rosing (Watcher)  
    Joan Marsh (Poster girl)  
    Tom London (Orderly)  
    Vincent Barnett (Cook)  
    Fred Zinnemann    

Summary: Paul Bäumer, a young German schoolboy, along with his friends, is inspired by his schoolmaster to "save the Fatherland" and joins the Kaiser's forces. Their illusions are soon dispelled, however, by the cruel realities of battle, relieved only by a brief romantic interlude with some French farm girls and the humorous interjections of Katz and Tjaden. When Paul, the only survivor of the group, returns home, he finds the professor still haranguing his young scholars to join the conflict; and when Paul denounces this attitude, he is proclaimed a coward by the youths. Tiring of the false impression of war at home, he returns to the front to instruct his new comrades in warfare. As the sole survivor of this group also, Paul reaches over the top of a trench to catch a butterfly and is killed by an enemy sniper. ... Quiet reigns on the front lines. 

Production Company: Universal Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Corp.  
Director: Lewis Milestone (Dir)
  Nate Watt (Asst dir)
  George Cukor (Dial dir)
Producer: Carl Laemmle (Pres)
  Carl Laemmle Jr. (Prod)
Writer: Maxwell Anderson (Adpt and dial)
  George Abbott (Scr)
  Del Andrews (Adpt)
  C. Gardner Sullivan (Supv story chief)
Photography: Arthur Edeson (Dir of photog)
  Frank H. Booth (Spec eff photog)
Art Direction: Charles D. Hall (Art dir)
  W. R. Schmitt (Art dir)
Film Editor: Maurice Pivar (Supv film ed)
  Edgar Adams (Film ed)
  Milton Carruth (Film ed)
Music: David Broekman (Synchronization & score)
Sound: C. Roy Hunter (Rec supv)
  William W. Hedgecock (Sd tech)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs:
Source Text: Based on the novel Im Westen nichts neues by Erich Maria Remarque (Berlin, 1929).
Authors: Erich Maria Remarque

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Corp. 17/5/1930 dd/mm/yyyy LP1323

Physical Properties: Sd: Western Electric Sound System
  Si: with synchronized music
  b&w:

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: World War I
 
Subjects (Major): French
  Friendship
  Germans
  Patriotism
  Schoolteachers
  Soldiers
  World War I

Note: The opening title card reads: "Carl Laemmle presents All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque ." After the opening credits, the following written prologue appears: "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 thought they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war..."
       According to contemporary sources, the silent version with synchronized sound ran 15 reels. Var reviewed the silent version when it opened in Paris in early Dec 1930 under the title A L'Ouest Rien de Noveau . The reviewer noted that a scene in which a French solider was killed in a foxhole was cut from the French release. Sequences with ZaSu Pitts as "Paul's mother" were not in the sound version, which was viewed. In the sound version, Beryl Mercer portrayed the mother. The sound version was reduced to 10 reels for reissue in 1939.
       All Quiet on the Western Front won Academy Awards in the Outstanding Production and Directing categories.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Exhibitors Herald-World   3 May 1930   p. 32.
Exhibitors Herald-World   10 May 1930   p. 31.
Film Daily   27 Apr 1930   p. 12.
Life   23 May 1930   p. 18.
New York Times   30 Apr 1930   p. 29.
New York Times   4 May 1930   p. 5.
New York Times   9 Oct 1939   p. 15.
New Yorker   10 May 1930   pp. 98-99.
Time   5 May 1930   p. 30, 32.
Time   2 Oct 1939   p. 49.
Variety   7 May 1930   p. 21.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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