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A Time To Love And A Time To Die (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray)

4.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Directors: Douglas Sirk
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Eureka
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Sept. 2013
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DUB7R7U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,171 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product Description

Synopsis Douglas Sirk - the master of the Hollywood melodrama - turns back to his native Germany at the time of the Second World War for the film that would stand as his penultimate American feature: A Time to Love and a Time to Die. A CinemaScope production staged on a grand scale, Sirk's picture nevertheless pulsates with an intimacy that has known longing for too long, and seethes with the repression of emotions poised to explode like bombs.

John Gavin plays Ernst Gräber, a soldier on the Russian-German Front in 1944 venturing home to Hamburg on a rare furlough. Upon arrival, he discovers a city that bears little resemblance to the one he left behind - and so, through the rubble of the air-raids, he searches desperately for fragments of his family's shattered lives. But amid the shards, he falls in love with Elisabeth (Liselotte Pulver), the charming daughter of his parents' doctor, and thus activates a magnetism that compels both individuals toward one another in love, even as it hurtles them headlong into epochal death.

Adapted from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque (the author of All Quiet on the Western Front, who also makes a cameo appearance in Sirk's picture), A Time to Love and a Time to Die takes its literary source and sculpts it anew out of matter made from color, decor, and performance - and arguably bests the novel on all aesthetic levels. Yet perhaps nothing can better summarise the power of Sirk's film - or of his entire body of work - than these words from the movie's trailer: " Their pounding hearts drowned out the sound of chaos thundering around them." - The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Douglas Sirk's 1958 masterpiece for the first time on Blu-ray anywhere in the world.


  • Gorgeous 1080p presentation of the film in its original 2:35:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio
  • English SDH subtitles for the hearing impaired
  • Optional isolated music & effects track
  • OF TEARS AND SPEED: ACCORDING TO JEAN-LUC GODARD - a 12-minute, visually annotated recitation of Jean-Luc Godard's seminal essay on Sirk's film.
  • 19-minute video interview with Wesley Strick, screenwriter of Scorsese's Cape Fear and author of the novel Out There in the Dark , a roman- à-clef based upon Sirk's life in Hollywood and his relationship with the estranged son who took a starring role in Hitler Youth propaganda.
  • IMITATION OF LIFE [MIRAGE OF LIFE]: A PORTRAIT OF DOUGLAS SIRK - a 49-minute film portrait from 1984, directed by Daniel Schmid and photographed by Renato Berta, of Douglas Sirk and his wife Hilda in conversation, and reflecting, from their apartment in Germany, back upon their lives in Hollywood.
  • The original trailer for the film, from the time it retained the provisional title of simply " A TIME TO LOVE "
  • 36-page booklet containing the complete text of Jean-Luc Godard's essay on the film, writings from critic Tag Gallagher on the film and Sirk's career in general, and an assemblage of notes that includes excerpts from Sirk's reflections upon the film, remarks upon visual motifs inside the movie, the CinemaScope process used to photograph the picture, and more.


"Sirk's penultimate masterpiece" --Geoff Andrew, Time Out

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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great film good service
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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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Douglas Sirk left Germany for Hollywood, where most of his best-known melodramas were made, but in this film he returns - via painstakingly made sets of Hamburg in ruins - to the Germany of fourteen years before it was made, in the last year of the War. It is winter and Ernst Graber, fighting on the Russian front, is granted a three-week furlough, which he uses to go back to Hamburg to find his parents. The city has been heavily bombed and the house is a pile of rubble, sending him on a quest all over the city for any news of them. Staying in a barracks , he encounters all kinds of humorous japes going on, meets a girl and falls in love, marries her after a few days, meets an old schoolfriend who has worked his way up in the Nazi hierarchy ... The filming style has a marvellous richness of texture, mirroring the complex times, but the story itself has a striking simplicity, being based around this short period in Ernst's life, his whirlwind romance with Elizabeth against all the odds, and their surviving the bombs, air raid shelters and unnerving neighbours who might call the police if they step out of line in the slightest. It is in colour, but has a certain old-fashioned solidity that works very well. One scene is shot in a bombed museum with the statues and works of art standing damaged around the bed they have put together - it shows moments of light even in this very dark hour. It also mirrors a tree that serves as a central image to the film, half destroyed by a bomb blast, but with the remaining branches blooming.

The two leads are remarkable, John Gavin for his good looks and very believable code of honour, and Lieselotte Pulver for her humorous expression and perkiness, even though she is depressed throughout over the disappearance of her own father.
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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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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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