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A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms

Genders: Romance, Drama, War

Director: Charles Vidor, John Huston

Writer: Ben Hecht (screenplay), Ernest Hemingway (novel),

Actors: Rock Hudson, Jennifer Jones, Vittorio De Sica, Oskar Homolka

Year: 1957
Run time: 152min
IMDB score: 6
Updated: 2 years ago

Movie infomation

Movie name: A Farewell to Arms

Genders: Romance, Drama, War

Imdb Score: 6

Runtime: 152min

Released: 14 Dec 1957

Director: Charles Vidor, John Huston

Writer: Ben Hecht (screenplay), Ernest Hemingway (novel),

Actors: Rock Hudson, Jennifer Jones, Vittorio De Sica, Oskar Homolka

Company: Fox

Imdb Link

A Farewell to Arms Available Subtitles

Spanish subtitles A Farewell to Arms2 years ago
English subtitles A Farewell to Arms2 years ago


Total crap adaptation

3/10 This film should be called adventures in Cinemascope. It is like the screenwriter and director tooks the Cliff's Notes page 3 outline and decided that this would be a great vehicle for a film about the Italian Alps. Rock Hudson is pretty good here, but the dialogue bears no resemblance to Hemingway at all. This is a made up version of Hemingway. Hecht, the screenwriter, is a hack. Watch the 1932 version with Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes. That is great cinema and was made by someone who understood Hemingway and the war in Northern Italy. Gary Cooper is very, very good compared to his performance in For Whom the Bell Tolls where he is stiff as a board and thinks he is in a western.

Anyway, if you are a Hemingway fan, do yourself a favor and do not watch this film. Your best bet is to get the unabridged audio CD and just listen to one of the greatest novels ever written.

2 years ago

The Great Stone Face

4/10 Had she not been married to the producer, Jennifer Jones would not have been the most obvious choice for the leading female role in this tragic tale of an affair between an American soldier and an English nurse, set against the backdrop of the First World War. Her British accent is not perfect, and in the fifties it was unusual for a big romantic lead to go to an actress in her late thirties, even one as attractive as Miss Jones, especially when she was several years older than her leading man.. There were a number of beautiful young British actresses in Hollywood around this time, such as Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Simmons and Joan Collins, any of whom might have been more convincing in the role, but Miss Jones had one important attribute they all lacked, namely a marriage certificate with David O. Selznick's name on it. In the event, the film turned out to be such a turkey that they were doubtless grateful not to have it on their CVs.

The film tells, at great length, the story of the romance between Frederick, an American volunteer serving with the Italian Army as an ambulance driver and Catherine, a nurse with the British Red Cross. After the Italian defeat at the battle of Caporetto, Frederick is wrongly accused of being a German spy and sentenced to death. (The film paints a very harsh picture of Italian military justice; it would appear that Italian Courts-Martial had the power to pass the death sentence after a trial lasting all of thirty seconds without hearing any evidence and without allowing the defendant to be legally represented or to speak in his defence). Frederick manages to escape and to cross the border into neutral Switzerland, accompanied by the pregnant Catherine.

Hemingway's novels have not always been a great success when filmed. Howard Hawks succeeded in making a good version of "To Have and have Not", a film that is considerably better than the book on which it is nominally based, but that is because he largely ignored Hemingway's plot and turned the film into a remake of "Casablanca", set in Martinique rather than French Morocco. Like the 1943 version of "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "A Farewell to Arms" is overlong and fatally slow moving. It is also miscast. Jennifer Jones never makes Catherine come to life. As for Rock Hudson, his assumed Christian name could be unfortunately appropriate. He could be as solid as a rock but also as impassive as one, and in this film his Frederick seems an impersonation of the Great Stone Face. Despite the passion and emotion inherent in Hemingway's plot, the emotional temperature is always far too cool. The picture has little going for it apart from some attractive picture-postcard views of Italian and Swiss scenery. It is hardly surprising that it was not a success and that its failure ended Selznick's career as a producer. 4/10

A goof. Shortly before the battle of Caporetto, an Italian officer states that Russia had already concluded a separate peace with Germany. That battle started in October 1917, at a time when Kerensky's Russia was still fighting alongside the Allies. The Russian Revolution did not take place until November; it was only the "October Revolution" by the old Julian calendar. The new Bolshevik regime signed an armistice with Germany in December 1917, but a separate peace was not signed until the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918

2 years ago

Hemingway strikes out again!!!

5/10 Strange that one of America's favorite writers has no success in having his novels transferred to the screen with any fidelity or improvement over the original. 'A Farewell to Arms' is a lumbering, turgid, over-stuffed movie that never seems real. Chemistry between Hudson and Jones is simply not there--Jennifer Jones, in particular, seems remote and detached as the nurse even when she's supposed to be wildly in love. And then there's the matter of length--it seems to go on forever with a very weak resolution.

David O. Selznick wanted to create something that would rank alongside his 'Gone with the Wind' as an epic romance with a war background--but the talky script defeated everyone. Hemingway himself publicly disowned the movie, claiming that Jones was far too old for the part and unhappy about the film in general. At any rate, it was not the hoped for success and did nothing to halt the decline of Selznick's career--or Jennifer Jones' career for that matter. A big disappointment.

2 years ago

How bout a review of the actual movie, people?

7/10 Of the top 6 reviews I currently see here, 3 are slamming Jennifer Jones for being too old, 1 is slamming producer David Selznick for being in the decline of his career, 1 is whining that it's not like the book, and 1 is slamming writer Hemingway for not doing any fighting in the war (Um... he was an ambulance driver).

While this film may not deserve an Academy award for best picture, it certainly deserves a decent review on IMDb dedicated to the film itself. So here goes my attempt.

"A Farewell to Arms" is a lavish production of a love story set against the backdrop of World War I. In that respect it's in the same genre as other classic war romances "Gone with the Wind", "Casablanca" and "Platoon ". Haha just checking to see if you're paying attention. Everyone knows "Casablanca" was not set in a war but an occupation.

Where "Farewell" differs from these other classics is in the distribution of war & romance. "Farewell" features far more battle scenes (4) compared to "Gone with the Wind" (zero) and "Casablanca" (zero). The result may be a bit disappointing in the romance department, and several reviewers (as well as the New York Times review on the film's release) have complained about the "lack of chemistry" between the two leads. I think this perception is simply due to the fact that less time is spent setting up the romance, putting more of a burden on the viewer to accept a relationship that simply happens. Viewers may also feel romantically cheated because this is not a traditional romance between two traditional individuals who dream of immediately getting married and having kids and a dog. But in fact this purposely informal, slightly dysfunctional romance is what ultimately made it interesting to me because it marked a change of formula in the age-old Hollywood romance.

If you see this movie, pay close attention to Jennifer Jones' excellent portrayal of a reluctant lover who is perhaps suffering from too many demons to actually fall in love completely, the way she wants to. She is riddled with insecurities, conflicts and possibly guilt, making her like the the stereotypical guy who can't commit. Meanwhile Rock Hudson plays a character more like the stereotypical lovesick schoolgirl. If you enjoy stereotype reversals like this, you'll definitely find yourself interested in their "lack of chemistry".

Was Jennifer Jones too old (late 30s) to play the role of Katherine as Hemingway had intended her (early 20s)? Probably. Did Jennifer get the part because she was married to producer Selznick? Absolutely. Does any of this make her a bad actress? No way. Short of Vivien Leigh, I think she was the best person to play the role as she did: the troubled lover whose cynical, morbid thoughts were always brewing not far away, despite her outwardly cheerful appearance. Actually I take back the thing about Vivien Leigh being better; the more I think about it, Jennifer was ideal for this sort of character.

A subplot involving Vittorio de Sica's war-weary character descending into madness is sure to catch your attention. It was actually my favorite part of the movie, and I wish they had spent more time on this complex character shift as well as his interesting polite antagonism of the church (with a spectacular short speech he says to the priest near the end). But alas, with the romance and the battle scenes already vying for screen time, Vittorio's story only got 2 or 3 dedicated scenes. They were powerful nonetheless.

Yes, as others mentioned, the ending seemed abrupt. But after thinking about it, I think it was perfectly in line with some of the interesting & unusual themes that the story set up. In short, this is not a straightforward soldier-meets-girl love story. The conflicts that are presented (particularly in Jennifer Jones' mysteriously troubled psyche) make this romance much more than meets the eye. If you enjoy wartime romances that are not always formulaic love stories (i.e. they may contain hidden dysfunctional surprises), check this one out.

2 years ago

Amazing visually but dull

3/10 I really wanted to like A Farewell to Arms. But despite for love for Ernest Hemingway and for Rock Hudson, A Farewell to Arms just didn't work for me. Granted it does look amazing, with ravishing use of CinemaScope and the scenery and costumes are gorgeous as you can see in the first hour. The direction is fine, and the music is beautiful and cleverly composed. However, in the pace the film was very pedestrian, but the pace wasn't the only dull thing about it. I am especially talking about the story, which was overall uninteresting and wasn't affecting, and the script, which is really stilted in a lot of scenes. The ending also felt abrupt. The acting is not good, considering how talented the actors are. I love Rock Hudson, and he visibly tries hard and looks really handsome here but he seems very out of his depth. Jennifer Jones is miscast, and her performance is a very uneven mix of overacting and underacting, also she seems very detached from her character and Hudson as well. As for Vittoria di Sica, he overdoes it so wildly you feel as though he accidentally walked onto the wrong set. All in all, despite the talented cast and director and the beautiful visuals and score, the film was dull. 3/10 Bethany Cox

2 years ago