Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 at 12:10 PM
Relive the drama, conflict and power of one of the most influential anti-war films ever made. Follow a group of idealistic young men as they join the German Army during World War I and are assigned to the Western Front, where their patriotism is destroyed by the harsh realities of combat. This American made film was adapted from the novel by German author Erich Maria Remarque. The story is told entirely through the experiences of the young German recruits and highlights the tragedy of war through the eyes of individuals. As the boys witness death and mutilation all around them, any preconceptions about "the enemy" and the "rights and wrongs" of the conflict disappear, leaving them angry and bewildered. The film is not about heroism but about drudgery and futility and the gulf between the concept of war and the actuality.
Released in 1930, 136 minutes.
Confessions of a Nazi Spy
Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 at 12:10 PM
In the wake of a federal trial that convicted four Nazi agents of spying against the U.S., Warner Bros. became the first Hollywood studio to fire a salvo at Hitler’s Germany. Months before World War II erupted, it released this thriller based on revelations that emerged from the trial and other real-life sources. The story is a brisk connect-the-dots tale that ties German-American Bund operatives (Francis Lederer, George Sanders, and Paul Lukas among others) to Berlin. Chief among those connecting the dots: FBI Agent Edward Renard (Edwards G. Robinson). The drama wasn’t limited to the screen. Production personnel received threats and violence erupted at some screenings. Directed with hard-hitting verve by Anatole Litvak, Confessions of a Nazi Spy struck a nerve in its era. It remains a milestone of filmmaking commitment today.
Released in 1939, 104 minutes.
To Be or Not To Be
Wednesday, April 6th, 2015 at 12:10 PM
In occupied Poland during WWII, a troupe of stage actors (led by the hammy Joseph Tura and his charming wife Maria) match wits with the Nazis. A Nazi spy has information which would be very damaging to the Polish Resistance and the actors must use all of their theatrical wiles and trickery to keep that information from being delivered to the Germans. Making use of their costume trunk, theater, and one actor's uncanny resemblance to the Fuhrer himself, Joseph and his troupe will do all they can to protect their homeland, all while keeping an eye on his potentially unfaithful spouse. Critically panned on its release for its perceived tasteless treatment of the Nazi threat, the film gained favor with fans and critics in later years.
Released in 1942, 99 minutes.
The Great Dictator
Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 at 12:10 PM
Chaplin plays two totally opposite roles in his first “talkie”, giving a superb display of his boundless talent for both inspired comedy and powerful drama. One of his masterfully drawn characters is a Jewish barber facing the constant threat of storm troopers and religious persecution. The other is the great dictator, Hynkel, a brilliant lampoon of Adolph Hitler that is awesome proof of Chaplin’s pantomime genius. The movie’s famous highlight comes in its final scene, when Chaplin steps out of character and addresses the camera with an eloquent plea for the triumph of reason and humanity over mindless militarism. This speech is so moving that Chaplin was later asked to repeat it on national radio, and the film itself was voted one of the year’s Ten Best by The New York Times.
Released in 1941, 125 minutes.