“I am going to write a madly enthusiastic review of Douglas Sirk’s latest film, simply because it set my cheeks afire,” raved Jean-Luc Godard after viewing this haunting, existential World War II–set romance. Based on a novel by Erich Maria Remarque (who appears in the film), it follows a German soldier (John Gavin) on furlough who finds fleeting love amid the rubble-strewn remains of his hometown—while coming to terms with the Nazi atrocities he is supposed to be fighting for. One of Sirk’s major themes—the struggle for happiness in the face of overwhelming odds—finds powerful expression in this elegiac masterpiece. Look for a young Klaus Kinski as a creepy Nazi officer.
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