- All Quiet on the Western Front
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Even while under enemy fire, he "mutters propositions in physics". He became interested in Kemmerich's boots and inherits them when Kemmerich dies early in the novel. He is killed later in the book after being shot point-blank in the stomach with a "light pistol" flare gun.
As he was dying "quite conscious and in terrible pain", he gave his boots which he inherited from Kemmerich to Paul. Kat has the most positive influence on Paul and his comrades on the battlefield. He also represents a literary model highlighting the differences between the younger and older soldiers. Kat is also well known for his ability to scavenge nearly any item needed, especially food. At one point he secures four boxes of lobster. Katczinsky leaves for a short while, returning with straw to put over the bare wires of the beds. Later, to feed the hungry men, Kat brings bread, a bag of horse flesh, a lump of fat, a pinch of salt and a pan in which to cook the food.
Kat is hit by shrapnel at the end of the story, leaving him with a smashed shin. Paul carries him back to camp on his back, only to discover upon their arrival that a stray splinter had hit Kat in the back of the head and killed him on the way. He is thus the last of Paul's close friends to die in battle.
I am so alone, and so without hope that I can confront them without fear. Before the war, Tjaden was a locksmith. Throughout the book, Paul frequently remarks on how much of an eater he is, yet somehow manages to stay as "thin as a rake". He appears in the sequel, The Road Back. Among twenty enlistees was Joseph Behm, the first of the class to die in battle. In an example of tragic irony, Behm was the only one who did not want to enter the war. Kantorek is a hypocrite, urging the young men he teaches to fight in the name of patriotism, while not voluntarily enlisting himself.
In a twist of fate, Kantorek is later called up as a soldier as well. He is very popular with women; when he and his comrades meet three French women, he is the first to seduce one of them. In chapter 11, Leer is hit by a shell fragment, which also hits Bertinck. The shrapnel tears open Leer's hip, causing him to bleed to death quickly. His death causes Paul to ask himself, "What use is it to him now that he was such a good mathematician in school? His men have a great respect for him, and Bertinck has great respect for his men. He permits them to eat the rations of the men that had been killed in action, standing up to the chef Ginger who would only allow them their allotted share.
Bertinck is genuinely despondent when he learns that few of his men had survived an engagement. When he and the other characters are trapped in a trench under heavy attack, Bertinck, who has been injured in the firefight, spots a flamethrower team advancing on them. He gets out of cover and takes aim on the flamethrower but misses, and gets hit by enemy fire.
All Quiet on the Western Front
With his next shot he kills the flamethrower, and immediately afterwards an enemy shell explodes on his position blowing off his chin. The same explosion also fatally wounds Leer. He is a power-hungry corporal with special contempt for Paul and his friends, taking sadistic pleasure in punishing the minor infractions of his trainees during their basic training in preparation for their deployment.
Paul later figures that the training taught by Himmelstoss made them "hard, suspicious, pitiless, and tough" but most importantly it taught them comradeship. Himmelstoss later joins them at the front, revealing himself as a coward who shirks his duties for fear of getting hurt or killed, and pretends to be wounded because of a scratch on his face. Detering is a farmer who constantly longs to return to his wife and farm. He is also fond of horses and is angered when he sees them used in combat.
He says, "It is of the vilest baseness to use horses in the war," when the group hears several wounded horses writhe and scream for a long time before dying during a bombardment. He tries to shoot them to put them out of their misery, but is stopped by Kat to keep their current position hidden. He is driven to desert when he sees a cherry tree in blossom, which reminds him of home too much and inspires him to leave.
He is found by military police and court-martialed, and is never heard from again. Hamacher is a patient at the Catholic hospital where Paul and Albert Kropp are temporarily stationed. He has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the hospital.
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He also has a "Special Permit," certifying him as sporadically not responsible for his actions due to a head wound, though he is clearly quite sane and exploiting his permit so he can stay in the hospital and away from the war as long as possible. A young boy of only 19 years. Kemmerich is shot in the leg early in the story; his injured leg has to be amputated, and he dies shortly after. While in the hospital, someone steals Kemmerich's watch that he intended to give to his mother, causing him great distress and prompting him to ask about his watch every time his friends visit him in the hospital.
Paul later finds the watch and hands it over to Kemmerich's mother, only to lie and say Franz died instantly and painlessly when questioned. A student in Paul's class who is described as youthful and overweight. Behm was the only student that was not quickly influenced by Kantorek's patriotism to join the war, but eventually, due to pressure from friends and Kantorek, he joins the war.
He is the first of Paul's friends to die. He is blinded in no man's land and believed to be dead by his friends. The next day, when he is seen walking blindly around no-man's-land , it is discovered that he was only unconscious. However, he is killed before he can be rescued.
It was released in book form the following year to smashing success, selling one and a half million copies that same year. Put on a Bus: Tjaden departs the story close to the end. With his being the lucky character, this is probably deliberate. In the British stage adaptation, he dies trying to save a dog that had become caught on some barbed wire.
Real Award, Fictional Character: As the protagonist explains it, the training of the time didn't really prepare soldiers for the war, so newbies got mowed down by the score. A few survived by blind luck long enough to learn proper survival strategies, and they formed a core constantly supplemented with New Meat. Late in the book, as the war starts to take a turn for the worse, there are news reports mentioning the soldiers' good sense of humor.
Paul points out that they're not really trying to be funny with their Black Comedy ; instead, it's the only way they're able to hold on to their sanity. His ability to find decent food and shelter is treated as something of a sixth sense. According to Paul, "if for one hour in a year something eatable were to be had in some one place only, within that hour, as if moved by a vision, he would put on his cap, go out and walk directly there, as though following a compass, and find it.
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The narrator mentions that veterans on the front take away from new soldiers any sawtooth bayonets they find on them, as anyone captured with them is killed outright and gruesomely mutilated rather than taken prisoner. All characters became such people. Paul and Detering in particular cross the Despair Event Horizon. The experienced soldiers sharpen their shovels into bladed weapons a bit like a monk's spade , and use them against anyone who tries to rush their trench. The inexperienced soldiers use their cruddy bayonets in melee and die horribly. In the film, the majority of the German soldiers use entrenching tools.
The protagonists insist on finishing their cooking, even as shrapnel is literally whizzing past their heads. Small Name, Big Ego: Corporal Himmelstoss was a mere postman before the war began.
All Quiet on the Western Front, film review
The soldiers philosophize about this. Paul remarks how strange it is that in their seeking revenge against him, their greatest goal in life has become to "knock the conceit out of a postman. Soldiers at the Rear: Corporal Himmelstoss, until he is sent to the front. More-so, an unnamed officer who catches Paul wearing his uniform while on home leave and forces him to parade and salute a bit before letting him go on his way. Stranger in a Familiar Land: Paul feels like this, when he visits home.
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At the end of the novel as Paul crosses the Despair Event Horizon , he stands up from the trenches, exposing himself to enemy fire. The novel leaves it up in the air whether it was deliberate or not. Paul starts to experience this after most of his comrades are dead. Almost every named character dies by the end. There are tons of rats that gorge themselves on the countless corpses on the battlefield. They grow so large and bold that they are able to swarm and kill dogs and cats at one point.
On the last page. A cable from the High Command stating this is sent, in October , i. Kat comes from Polish stock, although it is not clear where he comes from. The facts that his first name is in the Germanized or Latinized form Stanislaus, not Stanislaw , his family name is spelled Katczinsky the more standard Polish spelling would be Kaczynski and his German is not coloured by Polish may indicate that his family was assimilated, maybe even centuries before.
There is also minor character Lewandowski, a fellow patient in military hospital. The novel mentions that his wife lives in "Poland", which presumably indicates the Prussian province of Posen Poznan , the least assimilated Polish-speaking part of the kingdom. Tjaden is a Frisian family name. Too Dumb to Live: Many recruits do suicidally reckless things, driving home the point how many New Meat die from lack of common sense and how veterans become veterans just by surviving through dumb luck. In the second film, a teenager is seen dropping his gas mask into a gas-filled trench and retrieving it mask-less as Paul describes how clueless they are.
Detering is arrested after deserting. He is sent before a field tribunal and never heard from again. We never find out what happened to him, but it's likely he was Shot at Dawn. The German soldiers are frequently in danger of being hit by their own artillery.
Not from miscalculation, but because the barrels are worn. The original title is literally "Nothing New in the West". Now think about what happened, the setting, and why there's nothing new. Both the book and the film make it a point to show that war isn't pretty, and in this case, brutal without much to show for it. One Mauve Shirt character, and practically all of Paul's classmates at first. During the charge scene, not a lot of wounds are shown, with the exception of some tears in the back of German soldiers and two bloody hands holding on to barbed wire.
Also played straight during the machine gun scene in the charge, where loads and loads of French soldiers are mowed down, yet their wounds are not shown. Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: When Paul goes home he sees his sister's butterfly collection. In the final scene Paul is shot and killed while reaching for a butterfly.
Fairly early in the film, as Paul and his squad are marching into a combat zone for the first time, there's a shot of Paul and several other soldiers looking back at the truck that dropped them off. At the end, after every soldier in that shot has been killed, the shot of each soldier looking back is repeated. Raymond Griffith had a very successful career as the star of a series of comedies in the s.
Unfortunately for him, he could not raise his voice above a whisper due to a childhood bout of diptheria, so his acting career ended with the debut of the talkies. This film has his final role, a memorable non-speaking part as a French soldier that Paul kills. Kemmerich has a nightmare about Behn after Behn is killed. Paul's death is depicted like that. The most shocking scene in the whole movie shows an enemy soldier who is part of an attack on Paul's unit.
As the soldier is reaching for a line of barbed wire, an artillery shell explodes. When the smoke clears, his severed hands are still clutching the wire. When on leave, Paul goes back to his old classroom to see Kantorek using the same speech he told his class on another group of young innocent students. Excited to see one of his former students drop in, Kantorek encourages Paul to tell them how grand being in the front lines are. To his credit, Paul is really uncomfortable and insists he has nothing to say, but caves to his teacher's demands Because the students there haven't experienced it for themselves, with virtually all of them still a Wide-Eyed Idealist , they quickly denounce him and criticize him for having such a defeatist attitude.
Paul's death scene shows his hand reaching for a butterfly; then a shot is heard, and the hand goes limp in death. The hand in the scene belongs to director Lewis Milestone. Very few characters die in subtle ways. Almost all the French soldiers charging and the Germans get gibbed by artillery shells. Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: It gets a 4, primarily for the scene where the French soldier is vaporized by an exploding artillery shell, with only his severed hands holding onto some barbed wire left. Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The German characters are played by American actors, who speak with American accents.
This, however, is intentional Translation Convention , in order to show American movie-goers just how much like us the German protagonists really are. When Paul is in bed with a French girl, the camera remains pointing at the opposite wall while they talk. While the book also had some training described in it, the film goes to great lengths to show not just how awful the training is, but also how ineffective it really was on the front lines, such as when Kat tells Paul and his classmates that a bayonet is pretty useless in a melee fight compared to a sharpened shovel.
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All Quiet on the Western Front () - IMDb
The film is long — more than two and half hours — and despite the technological limitations, the unrelenting realism of battle action remain gripping enough for CGI-attuned contemporary audiences. It was ahead of its time, too, being the first talking picture to use a giant mobile crane for filming. As the shells demolish the underground bunkers, you can't help but be struck by the shrieks of fear and the incessant rat-tat-tat of machine guns, fizzing trench mortars and whining shells.
Milestone really shows the terror of what it must have been like to have been a soldier in the so-called Great War. There is a staginess to some of the acting but the film was a reasonably early example of a "talkie", when actors were still adapting to life after the silent movie. The silent scenes work well in this black-and white movie, such as the framing scene in which soldiers march away from the camera towards the battle front, glancing back over their shoulders, their faces registering fear, confusion and a weary resignation. One of Kropp's legs has been amputated and like so many others who suffer the fate in war of having a leg blown off he still believes that he can feel his toes and sense pain, a condition now known as phantom limb syndrome.
In addition, it's hard not to be moved by the scene in which Ayres carries a wounded comrade from the battlefield not realising he has died. And you can't help but be appalled by the ghastly Professor Kantorek and the impassioned speeches he gives about the glory of serving in the Army, speeches that persuade so many boys who are little more than children to sign up for war. All Quiet on the Western Front remains an essential piece of social history and a heart-wrenching film, one described as "inspirational" by Steven Spielberg , who said it helped inspire his direction of Saving Private Ryan.
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