Farewell to Arms

Farewell to Arms

3.0 2
Director: Frank Borzage

Cast: Frank Borzage, Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, Adolphe Menjou

     
 

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This first (and by far the best) film version of Ernest Hemingway's novel A Farewell to Arms stars Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes. Cooper plays Lt. Frederick Henry, a World War I officer who falls in love with English Red Cross nurse Catherine Barkley (Hayes) after first mistaking her for a woman of ill repute. Henry's friend, Major Rinaldi, is envious of theSee more details below

Overview

This first (and by far the best) film version of Ernest Hemingway's novel A Farewell to Arms stars Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes. Cooper plays Lt. Frederick Henry, a World War I officer who falls in love with English Red Cross nurse Catherine Barkley (Hayes) after first mistaking her for a woman of ill repute. Henry's friend, Major Rinaldi, is envious of the romance, and pulls strings to have Catherine transferred to Milan. When Henry is wounded in battle, he ends up in the very hospital where Catherine works. They resume the affair, which reaches an ecstatic peak just before Henry is returned to the front. The now-pregnant Catherine remains in Switzerland, sending letters by the bushel-full to Henry. But the jealous Rinaldi sees to it that Henry never receives those letters, leading Catherine to conclude sorrowfully that Henry has forgotten her. As the armistice approaches, Henry makes his way to Switzerland, hoping to find Catherine. He reaches the hospital where she has delivered a stillborn child. Catherine, too, is near death, but lingers long enough for a tender reunion with Henry. Ernest Hemingway disowned this film version of Farewell to Arms, complaining that Hollywood had ruined his work by imposing a happy ending. Actually, Paramount had filmed two versions of the final scene, one in which Catherine survives. Most current prints carry a very ambivalent climax -- we're never certain if Catherine is alive or dead as Henry lifts her to the window to witness the celebration of the armistice. These prints have been struck from the 1938 reissue of Arms, which was heavily edited to conform to the newly stringent Hollywood censorship policies. Because the film rights to the Hemingway novel were sold to Warner Bros. in 1950 (the year that studio filmed a semi-remake, Force of Arms), current prints carry Warners' re-shot titles rather than the Paramount originals. The film was withdrawn altogether on the occasion of David O. Selznick's bloated 1957 remake; though all prints were supposed to have been destroyed at this juncture, the original Farewell to Arms happily resurfaced on the public-domain market in the mid-'70s.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Although the ending was altered, this A Farewell to Arms is one of the best cinematic adaptations of an Ernest Hemingway work. True, the film doesn't quite capture the unique Hemingway voice and style, but it does have some of his flavor; more importantly, it translates the story into "Hollywood" terms that make it more cinematically appealing. If the film lacks the depth of the novel, it still packs an emotional wallop. Certainly a great deal of the credit must go to stars Helen Hayes and Gary Cooper, who make an odd physical pair but who have a genuine, affecting chemistry. Hayes is radiant in one of her finest screen performances, playing suffering, nobility, and heartbreak in an outsized style that still rings true. Cooper utilizes his considerable charm to good effect, helped by his truly impressive good looks; while he's not as comfortable as Hayes with some of the heightened emotion, he still pulls it off. Director Frank Borzage skillfully blends the romance with the war-themed story, creating both impressive battle vistas and intimate, softly lit duets -- all with the inestimable help of cinematographer Charles B. Lang. Modern audiences will undoubtedly find portions of the film (and its style) dated and over the top, but those willing to meet it on its own terms will be rewarded.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/17/2000
UPC:
0018111209199
Original Release:
1932
Rating:
NR
Source:
Delta
Region Code:
0
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:20:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gary Cooper Lt. Frederick Henry
Helen Hayes Catherine Barkley
Adolphe Menjou Maj. Rinaldi
Mary Philips Helen Ferguson
Mary Phillips Actor
Jack LaRue The Priest
Henry Armetta Bonello
George Humbert Piani
Fred Malatesta Manera
Mary Forbes Miss Van Campen
Tom Ricketts Count Greffi
Gilbert Emery British Major
Alice Adair Cafe Girl
Agostino Borgato Giulio
Blanche Frederici Head Nurse
Paul Porcasi Inn Keeper

Technical Credits
Frank Borzage Director
Roland Anderson Art Director
Travis Banton Costumes/Costume Designer
Edward A. Blatt Associate Producer
Hans Dreier Art Director
Oliver H.P. Garrett Screenwriter
Benjamin Glazer Screenwriter
Charles Griffin Consultant/advisor
Herman Hand Score Composer
W. Franke Harling Score Composer
Arthur Jacobson Asst. Director
Bernhard Kaun Score Composer
Charles B. Lang Cinematographer
John Leipold Score Composer
John Leipold Score Composer
Harold Lewis Sound/Sound Designer
Otho Lovering Editor
Paul Marquardt Score Composer
Ralph Rainger Score Composer
Ernest Hemingway Source Author

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Start [10:17]
2. Introduction [7:37]
3. Orders [12:48]
4. Father's Disapproval [12:23]
5. Train Station [7:25]
6. Return to Sender [12:19]
7. Many Letters [15:26]

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