A Farewell To Arms (1932)

FRANK BORZAGE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5

USA, 1932.  Screenplay by , , based on the play by , from the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , Benjamin Glazer.  Music by , , , , , , .  Production Design by , Hans Dreier.  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

Poetic and swoony adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel. Gary Cooper plays a (very tall) American soldier who falls in love with (very short) kindly nurse Helen Hayes.  The two of them have to avoid being seen by their superiors or else she will be sent away, but the real challenge comes when he has to survive the war long enough to come back to her.

It’s an enjoyable and mature romantic drama that still packs quite a punch after all these years. Hayes, in one of her few film appearances while enjoying success as the first lady of American theatre, gives a frank and intelligent performance (as opposed to insipid and dewy, which is probably why she didn’t get too popular with audiences at the time), and Cooper radiates a sexy intelligence that was very rare in his early career.

Academy Awards:  Best Cinematography; Best Sound Recording
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Art Direction

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