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A FAREWELL TO ARMS

Director: FRANK BORZAGE

80 minutes, U.S.A., 1932, Black and White, D-Cinema


EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI 

A key filmmaker during the late silent and early sound era in Hollywood, Frank Borzage won the Best Director Oscar at the first Academy Awards for 7th Heaven (1927) and repeated the feat with Bad Girl (1931). This is arguably his greatest achievement, a bold adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s semi-autobiographical novel which celebrates love enduring through wartime. Gary Cooper, brilliant and intense, is Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an American soldier driving ambulances for the Italian army during World War I.

Jaded by his experiences, he drinks and womanises, fearing each day could be his last. That changes when he meets and falls for Nurse Catherine Barkley (a luminous Helen Hayes), yet their romance frequently seems doomed as the War insists on forcing them apart. Building to a heart-wrenching climax, it stands as one of the greatest romantic melodramas the Hollywood studio system has produced.

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★★★★ The Guardian ★★★★ The Irish Times

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