FERNANDO’s CORNER ~ Posted November 11th, 2016
“WOODEN CROSSES” ( “Les Croix de Bois” 1932 ) is simply one of the most harrowing Anti-War films I have ever seen. I have read it was made to rival with “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930). The film has a different style though because I almost felt I was watching a documentary and the real WWI was going on onscreen – which does not detract from “All Quiet on the Western Front” which is still my favorite War film. Everything is so real in “Wooden Crosses”, so truthfully depicted. The battle scenes are among the best ever made. Stunning! Some scenes were hard to take…so harsh, grim and tough! When all the soldiers were moaning and dying after a tremendous battle, I was in awe and completely moved. One of the main assets of this film is that it achieves depicting War as absolute stupidity; as something so senseless and useless, in terms of suffering and loss of valuable human life.
Human life is above all richness, territory or power and if Man does not understand that, we will never be able to improve and move on to the next stage of evolution. Some of the featured players were actually veterans of WWI and the two of the leads were among the finest actors of the French Cinema: Pierre Blanchar, whom I recently saw in the excellent Silent “Le Capitaine Fracasse” (1929) and Charles Vanel, a very prolific actor who played, among many other roles, “Javert” In Raymond Bernard’s “Les Misérables” (1934).
This film is very different to any Hollywood picture that was being made in those days, especially since more than focusing in one particular character or developing specific relationship between the characters, it focuses on the situation as a whole, like a slice of real life. Impressive and very unique.
See Fernando’s reviews of these war classics:
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