I honestly can’t remember when I’ve had so little to say about a movie as I have about Delbert Mann’s 1979 Brit TV film version of All Quiet on the Western Front. Does it reproduce the story of Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel? Yes — on about the same level as a Classics Illustrated comic book might. It’s the sort of film that might be OK on its own, but it’s impossible not to compare it to Lewis Milestone’s 1930 film version — a film that retains all of its power and fire and sense of innovation 84 years later. Mann’s film, on the other hand, just lies there. It’s not that it’s miscast — though the choice of Richard “John Boy Walton” Thomas in the lead is no bonus. It’s not even that it looks like a cheap TV movie (though it does). It’s that it looks like people playing dress-up, and is completely lacking in passion. But it does tell the story and is largely adequate in that regard, I suppose.
The Hendersonville Film Society will show All Quiet on the Western Front Sunday, Aug. 3, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.