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A Farewell to Arms

Directed by Frank Borzage

USA, 1932

Cornerhouse, 27 July 2014

A Farewell to Arms

A soldier falls in love with a nurse.

She had loved a boy before and then lost him – death blossoming wildly in wartime, blasting the future, giving urgency to the present moment.  The couple love amidst a garden of death.

This is a more than decent adaptation of Hemingway’s novel, allowing that it’s a Hollywood film and was most likely seen as a star vehicle for Gary Cooper.  He’s OK but Adolphe Menjou as Rinaldi is the outstanding actor. Meanwhile, Frank Borzage shows something of his class in the montage that follows Henry’s desertion: all desolate landscapes and pools of darkness. An inferno.

A good film, but you do yearn at the end for the grandeur of Hemingway’s language:

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places…

And so on.