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At the end of the world war, several German soldiers return home to their city to find the social fabric and civil order disintegrating as communist gangs roam the streets and food and jobs become scarce. Riots and massacres lead the erstwhile average men to become cynical and desperate.Written by
A great requiem for a lost war - and a warning for another
The first part of the film is definitely a masterpiece, with extremely touching scenes from the trenches and unforgettable sequences of the armistice, how it happened and how it was experienced by the soldiers. I never read the book, but naturally the soldiers encounter problems when they are obliged to readjust to peace time life at home among gross political disturbances, introducing new conflicts galore, and here obviously the director had some difficulties keeping up the intensity of the film, as some ladies in action caused some disturbance both to the soldiers and to the film. Nevertheless, the end riot scenes of the film are magnificent and impressing, and the final court proceedings provide a sad finale to the destiny of these soldiers alienated from normal reality, so habituated to handle constant slaughter at war, and so incapable of handling banal crises at home. The spirit of Remarque nevertheless sustains the entire movie, all his stories made as great films as novels, and although this is not the best Remarque film and novel, it certainly is important and ranks as such in the canon. This film is extra added to in quality by Dimitri Tiomkin's very approppriate and inspired music.
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