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Lewis MilestoneLife and Films$
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Harlow Robinson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813178332

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813178332.001.0001

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“The Greatest Picture Ever Made”

“The Greatest Picture Ever Made”

(p.38) 3 “The Greatest Picture Ever Made”
Lewis Milestone

Harlow Robinson

University Press of Kentucky

The subject of this chapter is the Oscar-winning film All Quiet on the Western Front. After discussion of why the Laemmle family’s Universal Studios wanted to make film of Erich Maria Remarque’s celebrated novel, the chapter considers the screenplay adaptation, casting of Lew Ayres in leading role, the revolutionary sound design, influence of Sergei Eisenstein’s montage technique, reception and political reaction to the film in the United States, and changing attitudes towards World War I. The final section focuses on the hostile reception of the film in Germany, where it was used by the Nazi leaders, especially Joseph Goebbels, for propaganda purposes, and how the film’s global renown changed Milestone’s life.

Keywords:   All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque, Universal Studios, Carl Laemmle, Lew Ayres, Sound cinema, 1930 Academy Awards, Sergei Eisenstein, Montage, Nazi Party

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