A Farewell To Arms (1932) Review

A Farewell to Arms (1932) Director: Frank Borzage

“The Greatest Love Story of the War”


This interpretation of Hemingway’s famous novel stars Gary Cooper -who also starred in the 1943 version of Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls– and Helen Hayes, and is directed by Frank Borzage. The film won Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Sound. A Farewell to Arms is a classic film, however it fails to capture much of Hemingway’s novel. The novel is a tragedy, while the film focuses on the undying love between Henry and Catherine. Still, the film is worth viewing.

A retelling of the plot will not do justice to the magnificent novel of Hemingway’s, however a short summary here will suffice. Lieutenant Frederic Henry is an American ambulance driver in Italy during the First World War where he meets Catherine Barkley, a nurse. They fall in love and are married while Henry is wounded on a hospital bed. Shortly thereafter, their love is discovered and Henry goes derelict from his unit on the Italian front to return to Catherine only to find that she has disappeared to Switzerland. She was sent away from her job as a nurse for being pregnant. Henry arrives at her hospital just in time to find her dying in labor and the child also dies. She dies with Henry by her side.

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