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A Time To Love And A Time To Die (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray)
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2009
After "All Quiet on the Western Front", fans of Erich Maria Remarque, watched a movie called "A Time To Love and A Time To Die".

Based on the book with the same name, it is a love story set in last war years of World War II in Germany.

When others were drumming the Victor's side of things, this movie dared to look into German commoner's lives and their tragic fates.

This movie has nothing to do with pro and cons of German involvement and guilt about having unleashed the Storm.

It just deals with the lives of two selected young individuals, who witness at first hand what War is really all about.
Add a slight love story and tension caused by your own surroundings (Gestapo, SS, Propaganda machine, etc.), and you will see that this is far more than your common Drama.

Everyone can recognize him/herself in the two main characters.

It is a lesson of life versus death.

It tells you how destructive war can be, for those who are living it and have nothing to say about it.

The storms, or winds of war, are terrible companions, when they touch you personally.

This is the message this transliteration tries to convey, and may I say, rather successfully, despite the Hollywood cast included in it.

John Gavin plays the leading role, and for once, he is given a fair chance to prove that he was not just another "beau", but truly a full-bred actor who could incarnate a true-to-life character.

Liselotte Pulver, as his fiancee, bride-to-be, appears as a very young and very inexperienced girl, overwhelmed by this immense tide of war.

There is nothing romantic in all this, no pink dresses, no sweet lulls.
Just the harsh realities in war-torn Germany.
How to survive the bombings, how to survive the political police, and so on and so forth.

This is truly another Anti-War movie.
For those who understand what War is really all about.

As I started writing this, I had mentioned that it is finally being decently transferred onto DVD.

I did own an old PAL VHS tape of this movie, which was decent, but not satisfactory, considering that this movie had a very wide screen ratio.

Pan & Scan had marred the entire action and the desolated landscape scenes of this movie.
Now, on DVD, you get the best transfer ever.
It is in the correct 2.35:1 anamorphic aspect ratio, sports a conventional but full and crisp 2.0 Mono soundtrack and has been digitally restored in High Definition.

You also receive a second DVD with tons of extra material for your eye's delight.

Did I mention? It was directed by one of the masters of the genre: Douglas Sirk (Imitation of Life, Written on the Wind, Battle Hymn, etc.)
and the score is by the great master of spectacular film music himself, Miklos Rozsa.

I must insist on this. Get a copy before it's gone.
You won't regret it one bit.

It is part of our cultural heritage, and as such, it has to be collected.

This is film history.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
This was a really enjoyable romantic film - set mainly in Berlin at the end of the war. WW2 action buffs beware: only around 20 minutes of this film relates to war on the Eastern Front. However, do not let this put you off - as the film is a heart rending account of the love between a German soldier and the daughter of a Jewish teacher. A really moving film, lovingly made by a famous director.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is a brilliant adaptation of a great novel written in 1954 by German writer Erich Maria Remarque (mostly known for his master piece "All quiet on the Western Front").

Except a mistake on my part "A time to love and a time to die" was the first big Hollywood production showing the World War II from German point of view, and even if Remarque was a declared anti-Nazi (he was a wanted man in the Third Reich and spend all the period of 1933-45 as a refugee in Switzerland), making this film in 1958 was a pretty courageous thing.

An important thing to know before watching this most excellent film is that IT IS NOT a war movie. The story happens of course integrally during World War II, in 1944, and yes, there are some scenes from Eastern Front at the beginning and at the end of the film, but other than one big artillery barrage falling on German soldiers no actual fighting is showed. German soldiers march a lot in the mud and talk a lot about war and life in general, but the only shots they fire are directed against defenseless Russian civilians they execute "just in case" if they are partisans...

This film describes mostly the story of one soldier, private Ernst Graeber (John Gavin), who in the spring of 1944 receives his first leave in two years. Most of the film describes the eventful three weeks he spends in the town where he was born. However, although not a big city, this place is now regularly raided by allied bombers, targeting local industries, but slowly flattening the whole town in the process. When looking for his parents, Graeber meets a girl, Elisabeth Kruse (extraordinary German actress Liselotte Pulver), whom he knew once when they were together in the same class in high school. They never were friends before and in fact they hardly ever spoke one to another when in school - but since then they both changed a lot and the world around them changed even more, and they are both terribly lonely... I will say no more here - you deserve to discover this beautiful film by yourself.

Now, even if there is no fighting, this film is very dramatic and really keeps the viewer on the edge, because life in Germany in 1944 is incredibly dangerous. Daily bomber raids are a constant element in everybody's life, to such a point that some soldiers actually shorten their leaves and go back to the Eastern Front(!) because there at least they can shoot back at those who try to kill them... But an even greater threat is the omnipresent shadow of the Gestapo. People must all the time watch carefully their language as every careless word can make a difference between living another day or being send to the concentration camp or simply executed...

This permanent state of fear at every moment of life (which affects even the Nazis themselves...) is possibly the strongest element of this film and it is a high achievement for a Hollywoodian production. Possibly the most terrifying moment of the film is a simple administrative visit in the Gestapo building, where a little, ugly and weird subaltern officer (played by Klaus Kinski in one of his first roles) just asks to fill some papers... Other than the quality of the original story this excellent description of the omnipresent fear was mostly made possible by the fact that the director, Douglas Sirk, who was half-Danish half-German, personally experienced between 1933 and 1937 life in the Third Reich (he escaped to USA in 1937 to save his Jewish wife from death). I do not think I ever saw any of Douglas Sirk's other films, but he certainly impressed me with this one...

Although the love story is very beautiful and Liselotte Pulver is a delight to watch, this is definitely not a "feel good" film. It is in fact a pretty terrifying thing to watch, as other than the peripeties of the heroes, what it shows is a society which put itself in such a tight corner of hell, that there is virtually no way out. And even if people begin to do the right things again, it may be already too late to save them from death - although maybe not from eternal damnation, as a certain professor Pohlmann (played by Erich Maria Remarque himself) suggests it to Graeber in their most important discussion...

Bottom line, this is an EXCELLENT film, to discover and watch absolutely and then to conserve preciously to watch it one day with your children (once they are big enough). I can not really say that I enjoyed it, but it certainly impressed me and made me think a lot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2015
There is a famous debate concerning
the films of Douglas Sirk: which one is better:
"All that Heaven Allows" or "Imitation of Life? To
put the question this way is to forget the only one
of his films which can be compared to "All that Heaven
Allows". This is "A Time to Love and a Time to Die" (1958) starring
John Gavin and marvellous Swiss actress, Liselotte (Lilo) Pulver.

A Time to Love and the Time to Die could have been
called "All Quiet on the Eastern Front": it was adapted
by the author (Erich Maria Remarque) himself from his
classic "All Quiet on the Western Front", first published
in Germany in 1928 and made into an Oscar-Winning
Hollywood production in 1930,( directed by Lewis Milestone). From
the First World War the story is transposed to the Russian
front and to Germany under the Allied bombs during WW2.

The love story among the ruins between Gavin and Pulver
is depicted with infinite delicacy, the performance of the actors
underline the purity and the beauty of the story. This forgotten
masterpiece terminates in a wonderful way the decade of
Douglas Sirk's series of Hollywood melodramas.If you liked
his - first very underrated and now much- admired- other films,
please try to watch this film. It is of an incredible beauty.

I wish I could give six stars...

Elisheva Guggenheim-Mohosh, Geneva, Switzerland
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
For those who like this movie in particular or Douglas Sirk in general, this blu-ray edition is the best it can ever look. Sharp images, great detail, intense depth, all courtesy of the absence of DNR. Not the slightest sign of compression whatsoever; sound is great, too, for a film this old. Thanks, Masters of Cinema, for enhancing classic movies while utterly respecting their original look. The movie itself is quite interesting in its blend of war and melodrama; practically devoid of blood (those were other times, and Sirk's sensibility is something else, too), it is nonetheless one of the most powerful examples of how deeply war and opression affect human beings and destroy lives, not only physically. Klaus Kinsky's glance in his very brief scene is something not to be missed... We expect for more of Sirk's masterpieces in blu-ray with this outstanding quality!! (yes, same goes for "The tarnished angels").
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2010
I was delighted by this film on so many levels. I certainly don't posses the ability to describe just how good it is at this present time.

The camera panning past the group of Soldaten, sitting and lying dejectedly against a ruined outbuilding somewhere in the depths of the Ostfront, brilliant.
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on 21 February 2014
I'd read this book a few times in German but could not find a good English
translation as I wanted my father to read this book. He enjoyed it greatly
as it brilliantly depicts the l;ives and sufferings of ordinary Germans toweards
the endf of the Second World War.
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on 7 December 2014
Not your normal type of war film, about love and the chance that fate can play in life, intelligent story from a well written book and watch for the author who plays a part in the movie. Good acting from a fine if little known cast. Nicely directed by Douglas Sirk.
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on 14 April 2015
Quite gritty and realistic portrayal of Germany falling apart at the end of the war, given this is 50s Hollywood. Sumptuous music creates the melodrama. Interesting features reveal the autobiographical link to the film's subject matter.
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on 24 September 2010
Excellent print and sound.
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