Amazing cinematography and visual composition. From the opening shot which segues from a parade into a classroom with the parade seen through the windows in the background to stunning recreations of battle, the dynamic, detailed mise en scene is a wonder to behold. The story follows a group of friends and acquaintances through WWI. Performances are occasionally a little http://letterboxd.com/mharbour/films/diary/
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.
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.
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.