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WESTERN FRONT 1918, THE (WESTFRONT 1918)

WESTERN FRONT 1918, THE
photo courtesy Filmmuseum Berlin/Deutsche Kinemathek

Based on the novel Vier von der Infanterie by Ernst Johannsen, THE WESTERN FRONT 1918 tells the story of four German soldiers of very different personalities and social backgrounds who serve together on the French front during the last year of World War I. The happy Bavarian is unshakeable and optimistic. Karl from Berlin has been home on leave, but finds another man in his wife's bed and is glad to return to his comrades. The lieutenant only knows his duty and seems not to be interested in anything but his duty. The fourth man is a student who has fallen in love with a young French woman named Yvette, to whom he must bid farewell as the company moves on.

The war brings a gruesome end for all four men. The student is killed in no man's land. The Bavarian is badly injured during a reconnaissance mission. The man from Berlin dies in a field hospital with the accusation "we are all to blame!" on his lips. The lieutenant, whose upright bearing made him appear invulnerable, loses his countenance and his sanity and is sent to a field hospital as a mental wreck.


Georg Wilhelm Pabst was born in 1885 in Raudnitz (former Czechoslovakia) and died in 1967 in Vienna. He worked as a theater set designer and theater actor before he began his film career. In 1921, he appeared in Carl Froelich's IM BANNE DER KRALLE, after which he served as assistant director on Froelich's next two films. Pabst's debut film was THE TREASURE (DER SCHATZ, 1923). His critical analysis of bourgeois society and morals of the time is evidenced in THE STREET OF SORROW (DIE FREUDLOSE GASSE, 1925) as well as in his films PANDORA'S BOX (DIE BÜCHSE DER PANDORA, 1929) and DIARY OF A LOST GIRL (TAGEBUCH EINER VERLORENEN, 1929). A selection of his most well-known films includes: THE WESTERN FRONT 1918 (WESTFRONT 1918, 1930), COMRADESHIP (KAMERADSCHAFT, 1931), THE THREEPENNY OPERA (DIE DREIGROSCHENOPER, 1931), QUEEN OF ATLANTIS (DIE HERRIN VON ATLANTIS, 1932), DON QUICHOTTE (1933), THE COMEDIANS (KOMÖDIANTEN, 1941), PARACELSUS (1943), THE TRIAL (DER PROZESS, 1948), THE LAST ACT (DER LETZTE AKT, 1955), IT HAPPENED ON JULY 20TH (ES GESCHAH AM 20. JULI, 1955), and many more.
Genre History, Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 1930
Director Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Screenplay Ladislaus Vajda
Cinematography Charles Métain, Fritz Arno Wagner
Wolfgang Loe-Bagier
Ernoe Metzner
Cast Else Heller, Hanna Hoessrich, Jackie Monnier, Gustav Puettjer, Claus Clausen, Hans Joachim Moebis, Gustav Diessl, Fritz Kampers, Carl Balhaus
Producer Seymour Nebenzahl
Production Company Nero-Film/Berlin
Length 96 min
Format 35 mm, b&w
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Versions Engilsh, French
Sound Technology Optical
Festivals Arras 2014
German Distributor Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen/Berlin

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