A later screen adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's novel about a sensitive German boy's experiences during the great war.
An American epic war film based on the Erich Maria Remarque novel of the same name, All Quiet on the Western Front is considered to be a realistic and harrowing account of warfare in World War I. Originally made into a successful feature film in 1930, in 1979 the story was made as a television movie as a part of The Hallmark Hall of Fame, one of the longest running anthology programs in America, running from 1951 to this day.
The series started out by producing live to air reproductions of great plays and novels as well as original stories and it would later progress to producing feature films. All Quiet on the Western Front would appear in the 28th season of the program in 1979 and starred Richard Thomas of Waltons fame, as well as an all star cast including Donald Pleasance, Ernest Borgnine, and Ian Holm.
The story begins with Paul Bäumer (Richard Thomas) and his friends, young German school students, becoming inspired by his schoolmaster Professor Kantorek (Donald Pleasance) to "save the Fatherland" at the start of the First World War. The boys decide to join the Kaiser's forces with dreams of glory; however their illusions are soon dispelled by the cruel realities of battle.
The boys, as fresh soldiers on the front lines find themselves in the care of the older, more pragmatic Stanislaus Katzinsky, called "Kat" (Ernest Borgnine). Kat teaches them how to best take cover, how to catch game for food, and other survival skills. As time goes by the members of the group are taken one by one by the horrid nature of the war. After being wounded, Paul is sent home for a small break where he discovers his mother dying of cancer. He returns to his old school and discovers the older members of his home town understand little of the true nature of war.
Now tired by the propaganda used to propel the war, Paul returns to the lines to find all but one of his former friends, Kat, has perished. After finding Kat wounded in a trench, he attempts to bring him to the field hospital, however a shell falls on Kat and Paul continues to carry him to the hospital, only to discover later that he has died.
Now left as the sole survivor of his group, Paul, a broken man supports his fellow trench mates by patting them on the shoulder as he passes. The young men serving with him are merely boys, too young to be at war. In this version of the story, Paul is writing a letter to his former classmate who escaped the war after becoming an amputee.
He describes the horrors he has seen and the sad fates of all their fellow friends. He then sees a bird and begins to draw it, a call back to his time in the classroom, showing the last remaining wonder and innocence in Paul. As he stands up higher to get a better look at the bird he is shot dead by a sniper, followed by the famous last words of the First World War... All Quiet on the Western Front.
FOX Classics TV guide
Sunday, 26 May 2013
- 3:45 PM The Virginian
- 5:35 PM Centennial
- 8:00 PM Vicar of Dibley
- 8:35 PM Absolutely Fabulous
- 9:10 PM Father Ted
- 9:45 PM One Foot in the Grave
- 10:20 PM The New Statesman
- 10:55 PM Bottom
- 11:30 PM Dad's Army
- 12:00 AM The Big Valley
- 1:00 AM Gunsmoke
- 2:00 AM The Virginian
- 3:30 AM China Beach
- 4:30 AM M*A*S*H
- 5:00 AM The Big Valley
- End of programming for Sunday, 26 May 2013