The battle scenes are so technically innovative and thrilling I had a hard time believing this film was made in 1930. They just pulse with so much cinematic energy. However a good chunk of the film feels stilted, stagy, and dated, and it's a shame because there are some truly powerful scenes contained here. However it's an important film, and along with M the first great sound film.
Reminiscent of Eisenstein or Milestone's compatriot Dovzhenko in bravura style, its oft-mentioned creakiness and over-amped acting actually add to the mixed, manic mood of panic and crazed patriotism; its overwhelming impression is that there are those in this world have lived to see Hell.
The best early war film, bested only by The Big Parade imo for story. Battle scenes are unreal. My second fav warm film I own, and easy to see why it won Best Picture, back when that actually meant something
A very good, if long adaptation of All Quiet. Unfortunately, it feels incredibly dated, especially in dialogue. What sounded true and realistic in Remarque's novel feels cliché and wrong in the film. The innovative battle scenes, however, make up for any dramatic shortcomings. They're extraordinary.
In Germany, where the defeat of the war was still bitter memory, screenings were stormed by Nazi Party rabble-rousers who objected to its 'lies' about the glory of combat. Even in the U.S. it was boycotted by the American Legion but despite the negative publicity it still scooped a Best Picture Oscar. [Its] technical brilliance hammers home a distressingly realistic vision of the inanity of war."-J. Russell, BBC 4.5