A Farewell to Arms


Action / Drama / Romance / War

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 8% · 13 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 36% · 1K ratings
IMDb Rating 5.8/10 10 2840 2.8K

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Plot summary

An English nurse and an American soldier on the Italian front during World War I fall in love, but the horrors surrounding them test their romance to the limit.

Uploaded by: OTTO
June 20, 2022 at 08:27 PM


Top cast

Rock Hudson as Lt. Frederick Henry
Jennifer Jones as Catherine Barkley
Joan Shawlee as Blonde Nurse
Mercedes McCambridge as Miss Van Campen
1.36 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 32 min
P/S 2 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7 / 10

The Unique Problems Of Hemingway And Selznick

A lot of people are being terribly unfair to this production of A Farewell To Arms. Not that it's a great film, it misses that by a good distance, but that even films that are the best adaptations of Ernest Hemingway's work fall far short for Hemingway purists. And David O. Selznick was far from a Hemingway purist.

No Selznick when it came to the career of his wife Jennifer Jones lost all kinds of sense of balance. Another reviewer was quite right, Jean Simmons, Joan Collins, Elizabeth Taylor all would have made acceptable Catherine Barkleys.

One thing also to remember that we're not even starting out with pure Hemingway to begin with. Both this version and the 1932 version that starred Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes are not just based on the novel, they are based on a play that was adapted from the novel by Laurence Stallings who wrote What Price Glory. The play ran for 30 performances in 1930 and starred Glenn Anders and Elissa Landi on Broadway. I suspect the Depression had a lot to do with the closing as it did many shows that year.

Originally John Huston was slated to direct and he had directed Jones in both We Were Strangers and Beat The Devil with little or no interference from Selznick. But Selznick fired Huston and replaced him with Charles Vidor because allegedly too much attention was paid to Rock Hudson and not enough to Jennifer.

That's ironic as all get out because the novel itself is as all Hemingway works is male chauvinistic in the extreme. If he wanted to showcase Jennifer, any Hemingway just ain't the vehicle. He should have used one of the Bronte sisters.

Since the novel is male oriented Rock Hudson makes a fine Fredric Henry, the idealistic man who volunteers on the Italian front as an ambulance driver to experience war so he can write about it when it's over. On that Italian front it didn't look like it was ever going to be over.

That's another problem with this work, how do you sell it to the movie going public, as a romance or an anti-war tract? If you're Adolph Zukor for Paramount or David O. Selznick probably romance is the aspect that does sell.

The third major character in the film is that of the Italian army doctor Major Rinaldi played here by Vittorio DeSica. This version is more faithful to the book and presents Rinaldi as a three dimensional character.

In the 1932 version Adolphe Menjou was Rinaldi and Menjou did fine with the part as your typical suave continental type. Here Rinaldi's outspokenness about the futility of the Italian campaign leads to tragedy. It also led to an Oscar nomination for Vittorio DeSica as Best Supporting Actor. It was the only recognition A Farewell To Arms got from the Academy and DeSica lost to Red Buttons for Sayonara.

Whether Huston or Vidor did them, the battle scenes and the scenes of retreat are shattering and moving. Given the unique problems of Hemingway and Selznick, we're lucky the film came out as good as it did.

Reviewed by MartinHafer 3 / 10

Selznick's folly.

The very successful producer, David O. Selznick, had a very publicized affair with a young actress, Jennifer Jones. Selznick divorced his wife, married Jones and spent the rest of his career trying to make her a star of the first magnitude. Unfortunately, he OFTEN miscast her and the quality of his films was sometimes compromised. His once golden touch was gone and this film was his last--and his last attempt to promote Jones. Now I don't hate Jones--she was fine in some films such as "The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit" and "Portrait of Jenny". But, she was also quite terrible in a few of his movies because she was just wrong for the parts. In particular, she was ridiculous in the sleazy and extremely silly drama "Duel in the Sun". "Indiscretion of an American Wife" was another mistake--a bad film that was ill-matched to her screen persona (though I am not sure if anyone could have saved this film). Here in "A Farewell to Arms", Selznick is trying to get his 38 year-old wife to be believable as a 21 year-old nurse. Poor Jennifer....I think her career actually would have been better had she not been promoted by Selznick, as her Oscar-winning role in "Song of Bernadette" came before he became involved with her career.

The original film starred Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes. It was a hit back in the early 30s but hasn't aged well. In particular, the sound is a SERIOUS problem if you try to watch it. So, the notion of a remake isn't a bad thing.

In this version, Rock Hudson and Jones play the fated couple. Hudson is an American who has volunteered as an ambulance driver for the Italians. The US has not yet entered the war and some Americans did volunteer with Brits, French and Italians...and even the Germans (after all, the US was neutral during most of the war). This character was based, in part, on Ernest Hemmingway's own experiences driving an ambulance in the war.

Hudson falls for a very young British nurse (Jones). At first, his advances are boorish and she rebuffs him--for a while. Later, when he's injured in combat, he's sent to the hospital where he meets her again. This time, they BOTH are madly in love. So far, so good--these things DO happen. But eventually their attraction for each other becomes dangerous and all-consuming. She becomes pregnant, he is almost shot for dereliction of duty because the Italian army is run by idiots, he goes AWOL, finds her, they run away together, the baby is stillborn and she dies. A lot of stuff happens in between (after all, it runs over two hours in length)--though this is pretty much the film.

The chemistry between the two characters is only fair--but not what you'd want in such a film. Jones was especially poor, as she was SUPPOSED to be British but sounded like an American. And, the dialog between them often sounded silly. The audiences apparently felt the same way, as the film failed to make money when it was first released and the critics were pretty harsh to it. Now the film DOES look nice--the budget was very good and it's obvious that Selznick wanted this to be a big picture. Overall, it's painfully slow and should have been a lot better.

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 3 / 10

very long and romance lacks heat

Frederick Henry (Rock Hudson) is an American in an Italian ambulance unit in WWI. He falls for nurse Catherine Barkley (Jennifer Jones). Later he's injured at the front. He's treated by his doctor friend Major Alessandro Rinaldi. He has an affair with Catherine and she gets pregnant.

The romantic acting is old fashion and lacks real heat. It's very fake. The war lacks tension. It looks like David O. Selznick had paid for a cast of thousands but it doesn't look intense. Even the epic retreat should be better. It tries to be funny without succeeding. It's too slow and too long. I couldn't wait for it to finish not long after it started. It's boring.

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