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Film / Westfront 1918

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Westfront 1918 is a 1930 German war film directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst. It was adapted from the novel Vier von der Infanterie (Four of the Infantry) by Ernst Johannsen, who was a veteran of the battle of Verdun.

Set mostly in the trenches of the Western Front towards the end of World War I, the film deals with the impact of the war on a group of four German infantrymen.

The film was one of the first European talkies and featured an ensemble cast led by screen veterans Fritz Kampers and Gustav Diessl.


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Westfront 1918 contains examples of:

  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Karl is on a leave and goes back home, only to find out his wife cheated on him while he was on the front. The only thing he wants to do next is to kill his wife's lover with his rifle.
  • Darker and Edgier: The picture is noticeably bleaker than the already War Is Hell-heavy All Quiet on the Western Front, which was made and released at the same time. Especially with the cheated on husband who goes into a murderous rage, the PTSD Lieutenant losing his mind mid-battle and the final scene at the field hospital.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: In what is probably the movie's most memorable scene (photo), the Lieutenant (played by Claus Clausen) has a mental breakdown when seeing the battlefield's horror, salutes a pile of corpses and shouts "HURRAH!" repeatedly and uncontrollably. He is then transported at the field hospital.
    • Many if not all wounded soldiers at the field hospital also lost their sanity at war, to varying degrees.
  • War Is Hell: The film carried an obvious pacifist message, never leaving room for any glorification or positivity of war whatsoever and never glossing over its horrible consequences on men, both physically and mentally. Soldiers being buried alive by shellings, Shell Shocked Veterans, amputees... You name it.
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