A Time to Love and a Time to Die

  • Film
  • Drama
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Under the opening credits of Sirk's penultimate masterpiece, set during World War II and filmed on location in Germany, the camera rests on the branches of a tree, its blossom forced early by the heat of a nearby bomb blast. It is the perfect symbol for the love between John Gavin's German soldier on leave and a barely remembered childhood friend, Lilo Pulver: a love forced by the everyday facts of war. This superb adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's novel rests on a painful symmetry between the scenes at the Russian front and the central section in the half-ruined home town, and on a typically tough-minded acknowledgment of the irony that the doomed romance exists not in spite of the war, but because of it.

Release details

Duration: 133 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Douglas Sirk
Screenwriter: Orin Jannings
Cast: Don Defore
Klaus Kinski
Dieter Borsche
Thayer David
Lilo Pulver
Dorothea Wieck
Barbara Rutting
Keenan Wynn
John Gavin
Erich Maria Remarque
Jock Mahoney
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Thomas C.

My memory of this film goeas back more than fifty years, yet it is burned indelbily into my mind.It involves a love story set in the indescrible horror of war. It is a scathing inictment of the Nazi regime in Germany. The indictgment is drawn from vignettes of courage, comradship, irony, hope and hopeleness, duplicity, raging anger, the longing for life and in the end, tragedy.Front lines scene depict the Russian front. Scenes in Germany could have been any city devastated by the war. The film did not become a bloickbuster. Perhaps people do not like to look reality in the face. If one wants an inisght into the horror of war, it will be impossilbe to find a more honest of the subject.