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A Time To Love and A Time To Die 1958

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4.7 out of 5 stars (21) IMDb 7.8/10
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Douglas Sirk directs this wartime romance set against the backdrop of a German soldier returning home on leave. After being worn down by the ravages of duty on the Russian front, Private Ernst Graeber (John Gavin) finally receives his long-awaited leave and returns home to Germany. After discovering his home bombed, Ernst, trying to find his parents, meets and falls in love with Elizabeth Kruze (Lilo Pulver). Attempting to set up house together, they discover that Elizabeth is pregnant. However, the couple's new found happiness is shattered when Ernst is recalled to the front.

Starring:
Liselotte Pulver, John Gavin
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 2 hours 7 minutes
Starring Liselotte Pulver, John Gavin, Erich Maria Remarque, Barbara Rutting, Don Defore, Charles Regnier, Lilo Pulver, Jock Mahoney, Keenan Wynn, Dieter Borsche, Thayer David
Director Douglas Sirk
Genres Drama, Documentary
Studio EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 30 March 2009
Main languages English
Dubbing French
Subtitles English
Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 2 hours 7 minutes
Starring Liselotte Pulver, John Gavin, Erich Maria Remarque, Barbara Rutting, Don Defore, Charles Regnier, Lilo Pulver, Jock Mahoney, Keenan Wynn, Dieter Borsche, Thayer David
Director Douglas Sirk
Genres Drama, Documentary
Studio EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 23 September 2013
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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By Bobby Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Jun. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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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.
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By Sebastian Palmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Mar. 2016
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A Time To Love And A Time To Die is one of a very small group of American films made during the 1950s, i.e. only very shortly after WWII itself, that explore the human side of the German experience of that epic conflict.

The only other similar film, in this particular respect, that I've seen thus far is Decision Before Dawn. The latter is a black and white movie, as much espionsge thriller as war film, set on the Western and Home Fronts, whereas A Time To Love is more melodrama and romance, is set on the Eastern and Home Fronts, and is in bright Technicolour.

Both depict decent young Germans as central characters, and both find these men back in Germany, struggling to reconcile their consciences with their roles in the war, and their relationships to the Fatherland and it's peoples.

This film is based on a book of the same name by German author Erich Maria Remarcque (of All Quiet On The Western Front fame*), and director Douglas Sirk was himself also of German extraction, so it has a personal resonance for two of the key figures behind it.

Despite their roles in the making of the film, which one hopes bring some authenticity to it, I found the choice of male lead, Frank Gavin, who plays German soldier Ernst Graeber, rather problematic. Decision Before Dawn's Oscar Werner was both actually German, and an excellent actor, making for a very convincing character, whereas I found Gavin too hammy and all-American to be very plausible. I was more than half expecting him to blurt out, 'Gee, ain't the Fatherland swell, baby!' at some point.

Having said this, both films explore in different ways the moral compromises and complexities facing basically decent young men fighting on behalf of a toxic ideology.
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