Friday, June 28, 2013


 So what did you think? Can you sort of see why I think this is one of my favorites?

Rest in Peace, Rod Serling

Today is the anniversary of the death of the late, great Rod Serling. I think everyone knows Mr. Serling was an award-winning writer and producer of The Twilight Zone who also was the host and sometimes contributor to The Night Gallery.

You may not know, however, that he co-wrote the screenplay to one of the greatest sci-fi films of the time, PLANET OF THE APES. If you have not seen the original 1968 film (based on the novel by Pierre Boulle) you should. Charlton Heston is awesome as the US astronaut, Kim Hunter is wonderful as an open-minded chimpanzee biologist, Roddy McDowell is great as her fiancé, and Maurice Evan is fabulous as a close-minded orangutan. Most if not all of the sequels sucked, but the original still stands the test of time.

Rod Serling was born on December 25, 1924. After he ran into quarrels with producers on such series as Playhouse 90 and Kraft Playhouse, he decided to be his own man: he wrote and produced 92 of the 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone.  In 1969 he agreed to become involved with The Night Gallery, but he was not in creative control. He had a heart attack in 1973, then died after undergoing an open-heart surgery in mid-June, 1975. He passed on June 28, 1975.

Rest in Peace, Rod Serling

Here's the trailer to the 1968 PLANET OF THE APES.
It's fun to watch this knowing what we know about the film and the
series of sequels it spawned.....

JL #30 Next Issue Blurb....!

Next Issue is our LAST ISSUE!
Next time, someone is going to QUIT the Justice League!
Who could it possibly be!?
Look at the members shown on this page and see if you can guess...!
Don't miss our next issue:
Justice League #31
"Going Home"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Anniversary of the Bar-Code

According to Wired magazine, the very first time a Universal Price Code (UPC) aka "bar code" was used to purchase something was on June 26, 1974 in Troy, Ohio. (By the way, I have actually been through this town, a little north of Dayton.)

My guess is that most people out there can't remember when there weren't UPCs on everything, but for me and my generation it was a big deal.

Here are my three favorite comics from January 1976.


And here they are from February and March 1976.


My world would never be the same again. :-(

I would eventually get used to having the mark there. What I ended up really not liking is the Spidey head that would take the place of the code, or the DC bullet PR box ("There's no stopping us now!"). Those were on the Direct Sales comics, which I never understood why they wouldn't need a UPC, too. But...yech.

In the 37 years that we have had UPCs on the covers of comics, I have only seen ONE cover actually use the required box IN the illustration. I may have missed one at some time, so if there are more out there please let me know. In the meantime, hats off to the great George Perez for his illustration below: he has the Atom "riding" the UPC box in a very clever way.


The information I used is from this page and others:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, June Lockhart!

June Lockhart was born on June 25, 1925. She is 88 years young!

I came across her first on Lost in Space, then saw her on some episodes of Petticoat Junction, and then saw her a few times on Lassie. 

Chronologically, of course, she did Hollywood movies before switching to TV, where she was most famously cast as Timmy's mother on Lassie from 1958-1964. After she left the family farm she guest-starred on an episode of Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea, where the producer of that series liked what he saw. This was Irwin Allen, who cast her in his new series, tentatively called SPACE FAMILY ROBINSON, in 1965. This series, of course, eventually became Lost in Space.

At the beginning of the series it was a straight drama, and June as Dr. Maureen Robinson had many chances to actually act. She was most often paired with Guy Williams as her husband, John Robinson, but as the matriarch naturally had scenes with all of "her" children as well as the other adults, Major West and Dr. Smith. Several times she was left "at home" in command of the spaceship (a wonderful Jupiter 2 permanent set) and was the leader in those episodes. I'm thinking of episodes such as "One Of Our Dogs Is Missing," "All That Glitters," "The Golden Man," and "The Galaxy Gift." In "The Keeper" it is her intervention that saves the entire planet from Michael Rennie's creatures. Unfortunately, as the series progressed it spent more and more time on Dr. Smith, Will, and the Robot and less and less on the actual family. In the third and final season, June had almost nothing to do and no episodes were written around her character.
with Guy Williams, these two were
*supposed* to be the stars
When Lost in Space ended in 1968, June was hired by the producers of Petticoat Junction to appear on that series. Star Bea Benaderet had recently died of cancer, so June was cast against Edgar Buchanan as the motherly Dr. Janet Craig. Her role lasted a season and a half before CBS cancelled all the so-called "rural" comedies in 1970.

Since then I've only seen June Lockhart in supporting roles. She was a voice on the obscure Saturday Morning cartoon, "These Are the Days" about life at the turn of the century. I remember coming across this cartoon in the early Seventies and not thinking much of it until I realized that the mother's voice belonged to June! I watched the whole thing and checked the credits, and sure enough, there was her name! I haven't seen this show in 30 plus years but I do remember it fondly.

Speaking of "turn of the century" roles, I was in high school when I finally got around to watching Meet Me In St. Louis. Imagine my surprise when a very young June Lockhart turns out to be Judy Garland's antagonist!
June, Judy Garland, and Lucille Bremer from
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
I also remember fondly when I was watching an episode of Happy Days where The Fonz sues Howard Cunningham after damage was caused by his having pigeons on the roof. June played the judge who presided over the suit. She was amazingly funny.

So several years ago when I actually got a chance to meet Ms Lockhart (which I wrote about here: )
I got an autographed LiS cast photo for me (shown below) and another one for my friend who adores Meet Me In St. Louis! Every time I visit him I see it sitting there decorating his living room.

It was one of my great pleasures to have met this wonderful lady, and I wish her many happy, healthy returns!
Happy Birthday, June Lockhart!
the first season of LiS was in black & white, so it
was years before I knew what color these uniforms were!
with co-star Marta Kristen as her daughter, Judy
in a 3rd season PR photo with Guy Williams
and Jonathan Harris
my treasured autograph from 2002
Here's June and Frank Cady as store-keeper Sam Drucker from
Petticoat Junction in 1969. I tried to imbed the video but it wouldn't let me.

Monday, June 24, 2013

"Vacation" by The Go-Gos

I lived in Japan three times: the first time in Hiroshima, between high school and college; one year in  Sendai, Miyagi while I was in college; and then in Miyazaki, where I lived for 14 years. When I hear certain Japanese songs they always bring me back to a certain "era." Likewise, there are a few Western pop songs that whenever I hear them I am instantly transported back to Japan. The first and strongest is "Vacation" by the Go-Gos.
I went to Miyagi University of Education (MUE) between the fall of 1985 and the spring of 1986. At the time it was an independent school but it is now part of Tohoku University. At the time I was a student there it was a school of approximately 1800 students, and I was one of only three foreign students. There were some Chinese and/or Brazilian Japanese exchange students, too, but they could all "pass." We three Westerners stood out like sore thumbs.
There was no girls' dorm so Deirdre lived with a host family. Jeff had an apartment. And I lived in the boys' dorm on campus. During the first semester I was there two things happened that changed my life: one was me turning 21 on a night it was my floor's turn to clean the boys' bathrooms; there isn't any more to that story, but it makes me smile every time I think of it. The other event was the School Festival.
Each autumn every college in Japan holds a Cultural Festival (November 3 is Culture Day in Japan). During this weekend the university is open to the public and each club tries to make some extra money by having exhibition games or by selling food or drink. By "club" I mean teams (soccer, badminton, swimming, gymnastics) as well as clubs like French Club, Manga Club, Painting, etc. By the time the festival rolled around I was already a member of the Ping-Pong, Table Tennis Club. I had been dumped on them because my dorm room-mate knew somebody who knew somebody in it, and he wanted me out of the dorm more. At the time I was pissed because I thought he was trying to get rid of me, but in hindsight joining them was the best thing that happened to me. They were not only kind and supportive of me but they also knew how to party! I had the best weekend of my college life that weekend, and all of my other fond memories of Sendai have something to do with the Table Tennis Club.
me and my best friend Nitta-kun trying to sell crepes at the
college cultural festival, Nov 1985
Oh, except for this one.
My first friends were my dorm-mates. They had a ball living with a foreigner. I was "adopted" as a little brother by hundreds of upper-class Japanese guys, and because Japan is a society based on rank, I was basically "in" throughout the school. All year I would find people who knew me because, well, because I was the foreigner, but also because I was the foreigner who lived in the east wing on the fourth floor and helped Tanaka with his English test or what have you. It was only later that I was also the Table Tennis foreigner. The point is, almost immediately I was "somebody." And that is why an upper-classman whose name I have long forgotten came to my room-mate one day that fall and told us he wanted our help to win some money in a state-wide contest. He wanted us to go around the campus and be recorded with a camcorder as we "hosted" a documentary about "College Life." So my room-mate and I went to the cafeteria, the bus stop, the track and field, etc and interviewed students. Because the "director" was a fun guy he would point us to his fun friends, and because I'm, well, who I am, I went after the laughs and the funny. We were a huge hit. The highlight was our interviewing some of the college cheerleaders (called "cheer girls" in Japanese). After we laughed with them, they came up with the idea for us to join their practice! They taught us one of their routines; I don't know if the director or my room-mate knew that was going to happen, but I sure didn't! And *that* is where the Go-Gos come in, because the routine they taught us was to "Vacation." To this day, whenever I hear this song I think, "aerobic work-out."
I know our video was a hit because we ended up winning something; the three of us split the prize money. I think I got a copy of our tape, too, but I lost it several years ago.  It would be nice to watch today for sure...
...but this will have to do. :-)


Friday, June 21, 2013

Cimarron (Best Picture 1931)

Cimarron is another one of these early films that I never would have watched if it had not won the Academy Award for Best Picture. I have never heard of the male star, Richard Dix, and only nominally know Irene Dunne, the female star. I did a little research on her and found that she starred with Cary Grant in three well-known films: The Awful Truth, My Favorite Wife, and Penny Serenade. She was nominated again for The Awful Truth, which I have never seen. I have seen the other two, though, and Penny Serenade should be better known than it is because she and Grant are both wonderful in it. It is one of Cary Grant's two Academy Award nominations, although he never won.  
The interesting thing to me before I actually saw this film was to notice that in 1930 the credits for motion pictures still have not been standardized. Check out what it says:
"Edna Ferber's Cimmaron
Richard Dix Irene Dunne Estelle Taylor
A Wes Ruggles Production"  
So...who is the Director? Watching the film you still would not figure it out, as the credits list producer and screen-writers but not the director. It looks like Wes Ruggles *is* the director (according to Leonard Maltin Guide) but this is the first movie I've seen where the credits were so confusing.
this scene never appeared in the movie
The film opens with the Great 1889 Oklahoma Land Rush, where lawyer/reporter/publisher Yancy Cravat (Dix) intends to stake a claim on a piece of land he has already picked out. He's shadowed by Dixie Lee (Taylor), who connives her way into grabbing his land for herself. This sets the stage for... well....nothing. Yancy gives up; without staking a claim anywhere on the land, he returns to his wife and her family in Kansas. He has decided instead to move to Osage, Oklahoma to help establish a newspaper there. His wife Sabra (Dunne) decides to accompany him over the strong objections of her mother.
So right off I am thinking, "What the hell...??!" A good chunk of time and effort is taken up showing us the Land Rush, but then NOTHING comes of it. The drama of him being cheated is shuffled off the stage immediately; he has one line about if she had been a man he would have punched her; that's it. For all the dramatic set-up of the Rush this was a huge emotional let-down. Maybe it resonated more with the audience at the time; I don't know why the movie didn't just start with him in Kansas for all the meaning the opening scenes had to the overall story.
The first third of the movie is devoted Yancy and Sabra, their trek to Oklahoma, and their attempts to build a life for themselves in Osage. By the time they arrive, Sabra is ready to go back and Yancy can't wait to get started. It's obvious that Yancy is a well-known character in the Territory, respected and admired by the majority of the towns' people. He is feared or loathed by the rest, haha. He is shown to be a "good" person: he actually wears a white hat and one of the rogues he meets calls him out on it. He becomes a successful publisher  who not only solves the murder of his predecessor, he goads the murderer into a shoot-out and takes him out in self-defense. Pretty clever.
This is the by-far best part of the movie. The relationship between Yancy and Sabra is still interesting; the supporting characters of the town are interesting, too. One is Sol Levy (George E. Stone), a salesman with a cart who ends up opening Osage's biggest department store. He is bullied by the rogues as a stereotypical Jew, but defended by Yancy. He is welcomed into the non-denominational church the town begins (with Yancy as the default ad hoc preacher), which to me spoke volumes about the sense of inclusion and tolerance of either 1. Oklahoma or 2. late-Twenties Hollywood (or both).
Another supporting character of note is houseboy Isaiah, played by Eugene Jackson. Jackson is more well-known as "Pineapple" in the Our Gang comedy shorts. However, in Cimarron he is the house boy for Sabra's family who stows away with the Cravats in one of their covered wagons when they leave Kansas. He pleads to be allowed to go on to "Oklahomy" and they embrace him. He is almost treated as one of the family, although I noticed he didn't sleep in the same hotel with them when they first arrive. Perhaps he had to stay with the wagons? Then later his permanent lodgings are never made clear, but he does seem to have free reign in their home. Unfortunately, when The Kid and his gang shoot up the town, Isaiah is one of the victims. I can't say that I was surprised; Hollywood is notorious for killing off the minority characters. Still, it was nice to see the depth of sadness expressed by the leads at his death, and I imagine it would have been very easy to edit the character out completely, so kudos for having him there at all.
In fact, politics and morality are very strong themes of this movie. Yancy and Sabra have discussions about important topics throughout the story. Yancy is very progressive: besides his affection for Isaiah, he believes Native Americans should be treated equally and that the town madam should not be thrown into jail. The last third of the film addresses these issues specifically. Although it was interesting to see Hollywood embrace these liberal stances, it didn't make for good drama. The whole last section of the film is talk talk talk, which is odd in a movie that is ostensibly a Western. As the film lumbers on and time passes to show the town of Osage as a big city, I started thinking that the film would never end! Finally there is an unveiling of a statue in downtown Osage (I think?) dedicated to the Spirit of Osage or something. I'm not sure. When it is finally unveiled, lo and behond if it doesn't look like young Yancy Cravat. The End.
I had more than a few problems with this movie, but first let's talk about what it did right. The opening Land Rush is still impressive some 75 years later. The scale is fantastic and the camera work is varied and dramatic. Tom Cruise's movie on the same subject, Far And Away, wasn't filmed any better.  Also, as I mentioned earlier the characters in the movie are interesting and fun to watch. As the two children get older they begin to mimic their parents (one for him, one for her), which was also interesting. And lastly, the overall theme of "society is good, but too much of anything is bad" was illustrated well. Yancy represented "live and let live" but if you wouldn't do that or let others do that, watch out! The gossiping, self-righteous characters were held up to ridicule, which is something I did not expect to see.
Now let's talk more about the gaping plot holes, so big that Yancy could have driven his covered wagon through! First, of course, is the absolute lack of meaning for including the Land Rush. Later, the same type of emotional and climactic shuffle occurs when there is another Land Rush and Yancy decides to join that one, too. It's four years later (we know because a date flashes up on screen) and Osage has become a respectable little town. Suddenly Yancy gets the wanderlust, wait, he's going to claim land for them to build a farm on? He broods about The Advance of Civilization, especially as embodied by his wife's Ladies' Club, then wondering if it's right to steal the land from the Native Americans, decides to depart that very day. With a quick good-bye to his wife he's gone.

this scene never appeared, either

Just as we never saw any aftermath for the original Land Rush, we never see any dramatic fall-out from his departure from Osage, either. Irene Dunne doesn't weep and struggle; she seems to go on with her two children well enough and even becomes the de facto newspaper publisher. There is no growth for her character whatsoever, which is probably why she didn't win the Academy Award she was nominated for. This is when the movie really breaks down: instead of following either Sabra OR Yancy and telling us one of their stories, what we get is an instant "Five Years Later" flash on the screen again and Yancy is suddenly returning as if he just went out for a leisurely ride. There is no explanation as to where he was or why he didn't come back sooner. He is wearing some type of uniform; she says, "You've been fighting?" he replies, "Yes," and that is that. We never even hear if he got land in this Land Rush or some other woman cheated him out of his stake again!
Speaking of that woman, *she* is now the focus of the last part of the movie. It seems Yancy had to come back plot-wise so that he can stand up for the town madam and teach the citizens one more lesson about not throwing stones at glass houses. We get an extended (and ODD!) court room scene where he excuses the presence of a whorehouse in Osage and excuses Dixie Lee because she had a hard life. All this time I was thinking, "uh....who exactly is going to this whore house if the town is so frickin' righteous?" Even more oddly (sorry, we're almost done here) is that the same plot contrivance is used AGAIN when we skip ahead ANOTHER five years to show us Yancy writing an editorial about Native Americans' rights and then disappearing AGAIN!
Irene Dunne made up as "1920s Sabra"
So, to sum it up: the movie Cimarron in its last half is all over the place! If the spotlight had stayed on Sabra and her struggles after Yancy left it could have been a remarkable movie. Unfortunately, it wanted to tell an "epic" tale where the characters are secondary to the History. As history it was interesting (I'm a sucker for historical dramas) but as a drama, it was severely lacking.    

Cimarron (1930)
*Academy Award Best Picture 1930-31*
Produced by William LeBaron
Directed by Wesley Ruggles
*Screenplay by Howard Estabrook*
based on the novel by Edna Ferber
(won Academy Award for Best Adapted Material)
I couldn't find any trailer to this film on youtube but if you would like to watch the 4 minute "defense" trial scene, for some reason that has been uploaded. You can find it here:

Also Nominated:
(in alphabetical order)
East Lynne
The Front Page
Tracker Horn 
Well, for the first time here I have actually *heard* of some of these other nominees, even though I have never seen any of them. The Front Page here is the original version, not the Walter Matthau-Jack Lemmon version or the Cary Grant-Rosalind Russell His Girl Friday version I am more familiar with (and that I have actually seen!). Skippy is the movie that starred Jackie Cooper. This is the movie where, he has been quoted as saying, he had to cry on cue and he was able to do so only because the director told him that he was going to kill his dog if he didn't! And *that* director (Norman Taurog) won the Best Director Oscar, even though Skippy did not win the Best Picture Oscar. Serves him right.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy Birthday, Julius Schwartz!

If Len Wein is my favorite comic-book writer, then Julius Schwartz is my favorite comic-book editor, hands down. Schwartz was the long-term editor of my all-time favorite comic-book, JUSTICE LEAGUE. He was the first editor I ever took notice of, and one of the few that I would use as a barometer to buy or not buy a comic.

I first learned of him when he was on JLA. Then I found out that he had been instrumental in the re-creation of Silver Age classics like The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), the Atom (Ray Palmer), and Hawkman (Katar Hol). By the time I was branching out and buying things besides JLA he was still on The Flash and was also doing Superman and Action Comics. By the time of the Superman movies, he was in charge of all of the Superman-related titles.

Unfortunately, he never handled the Legion of Super-Heroes or Aquaman. I think that both of these series would have been better and, in the case of Aquaman, lasted longer, if he had been involved.

Julius Schwartz was born on June 19, 1915. He passed away on February 8, 2004.

Happy Birthday, Julius Schwartz!
  from FLASH 179, where Schwartz meets the Flash

from JLA 123, where writers Cary Bates and Elliot S. Maggin
meet the Justice League & Justice Society

from the Julius Schwartz-dedicated JUSTICE LEAGUE comic from 2004
art by Joe Giella

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Happy Birthday Peter Lupus and Lalo Schifrin

Today is TV Tuesday on FRIENDS of JUSTICE and I am happy to celebrate two Mission: Impossible stars' birthdays this week: Peter Lupus, strongman Willy Armitage on the original series, was born on June 17, 1932; and composer Lalo Schifrin, the composer of arguably the most easily-recognized TV theme of all time, was born on June 21, 1932.

Lupus made a few B-movies in the '50s and '60s, most famously MUSCLE BEACH PARTY (starring Frankie and Annette), before finding international and immortal fame on Mission: Impossible. He was one of the original cast members, and was chosen specifically by series creator Bruce Geller. He appeared regularly for the first four years until new producers tried to replace him, not understanding his appeal. Fans wrote in to support him and he was returned to the main line-up, where he stayed until the series was cancelled two years later. Only Greg Morris as Barney appeared in more episodes of Mission: Impossible than Peter Lupus did.
By the way, Hoosier friends, Lupus was born and grew up in Indianapolis!

Even more affiliated with M:I than Lupus, Lalo Schifrin's theme made its debut with the pilot episode in the fall of 1966. He  jazzed it up, re-arranged it,  updated it for the 1988 series, and had it techno-popped for the Tom Cruise movies, but it has always stayed instantly recognizable. He was not a one-trick pony, however; he also composed the music for the hit TV-series Mannix and Medical Center, as well as for films such as BULLITT and DIRTY HARRY.

Happy Birthday, Peter Lupus and Lalo Schifrin! 
with original star Steven Hill
the most popular cast, 1967-1969
with Leonard Nimoy in 1969

with Lynda Day George at the end of the series, 1972
 CD collection of some of the TV music
(I listen to this ALL the time!)
 theme from the later can see
plenty of Peter Lupus in this one!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sir Paul McCartney!

Tomorrow June 18 is the birthday of some guy who helped form some band in the Sixties that a few people have heard of....his name is Paul something, hold on....

Seriously, The Beatles are one of FRIENDS of JUSTICE's heroes; we can't let a holiday like this go by without mentioning it! Even though the actual day is tomorrow, today is MUSIC MONDAY here at FRIENDS, so excuse me if I'm a little early.

Happy Birthday, Paul McCartney!

art by Mr. Steve Lightle

the last time Paul & Ringo were with George, in 2000

Here's one of my favorite Paul McCartney songs.....hope you like it, too.


Friday, June 14, 2013

All Quiet On The Western Front (Best Picture 1930)

When I was in college I had a joint History-English class on the topic of "war." As our textbooks we read novels and literature based on war, such as The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides and Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien. Once a week we saw a movie set during whichever war we were discussing, and this is when I saw All Quiet On The Western Front for the first time.

The film is based on the German novel by Erich Maria Remarque, which was published in 1920. It is the story of Paul, one of the earliest volunteers when war breaks out in 1914. Paul and his classmates can't wait to join up amid all of the hoopla and talk that the war will be over quickly. In a shocking scene, their school teacher basically fans their passions to join up until they all enroll en masse. In fact, there are many shocking scenes in this motion picture, which was made before The Hays Code went into effect. For one thing, the actors bathe in a river and are clearly nude. For another, they meet up with French peasants immediately after this scene and obviously have sex with them. In fact, for the scene between Paul and his woman where we assume they are lying in bed after having sex, the camera stays on the wall of the room, showing neither of them or the bed. Earlier the women joked that the men were coming to their cabin totally naked, so was it not obvious that they were all having sex?  Still, I doubt even this scene could not have been filmed in post-Code Hollywood, let alone the more risqué ones. 
Lew Ayres and Louis Wolheim
Paul is played by a very young and handsome Lew Ayres. I was only familiar with him from his much later appearances in the Seventies, when he was probably in *his* seventies as well. Here he begins his portrayal as Young with a capital "Y," representing all the new recruits who are churned up in the War. Later in the film when he gets leave and goes back to his village he has become a hardened veteran. He meets his previous teacher and confronts him and the current student body in a depressing scene. As I watched it I wondered if this was the first time a "war-torn/shell shocked" character had ever appeared on film. Nearly one-hundred years later we have seen the hardened veteran say, "You'll never understand it until you see it for yourself!" but at this time, it was probably refreshingly new.

The film is a series of vignettes as it follows Paul and his class-mates as they start off at Boot Camp, then make their way towards their meeting with Death in The War. I am not sure how many friends there are at the beginning, but one dies the very first night, one is shot in the next skirmish, one deserts, and so on. In one brilliantly done bit, Franz' nice leather boots go from virginal Franz to more cynical Mueller and then onto others until they are lost on some faceless soldier. In another of the more shocking scenes, Paul goes to the makeshift hospital to visit Franz and when Franz dies, Paul goes into a type of shock: he is wondrously happy just to be alive! My description of this scene doesn't do it justice; the look on Lew Ayres' face as he admits that he feels happy because although Death took his friend *he* is still alive is powerful stuff.

Another shocking sequence is when Paul's forces rush a French line, only to be repelled back. Paul falls into a hole and is left behind what is now the enemy line. He spends desperate minutes waiting for the French to be repulsed again. When they do retreat, he takes it upon himself to attack one of the French soldiers, killing him with his bayonet. However, the French soldier does not die immediately, making Paul endure a long night with him in the foxhole until he finally expires. The range of emotions that Paul goes through is stunning to see: jubilation at having attacked and killed and enemy; determination to see that the soldier actually survives; anger at him for not dying quickly enough;  and then finally sorrow for having murdered him. It is a painful experience for Paul to endure and a painful experience for us to watch.

As Paul's comrades-in-arms die off one by one he becomes more and more fatalistic and resigned to his fate. His mentor Kat is played wonderfully by Louis Wolheim, an actor I have never seen any where else. He was a popular silent film actor but died of cancer in 1931, which is why I don't know him. Paul's two other long-suffering comrades are Tjaden, played by Slim Summerville, and Albert, played by William Bakewell. Most of the others are shadows or cyphers, but these three are with Paul almost to the end, and do a great job in their supporting roles. Ben Alexander has a wonderful death scene as Franz; as soon as he struts around about his wonderful leather boots, I knew he was a goner! And he plays his scenes well; we don't really know him, but he makes us understand his fear and anger at having to die so young.
When I watched the film I thought it was inconsequential that the protagonists were German. For example, there is a scene where the grunts discuss the cause of the war and suggest that in the future when nations have disagreements the opposing government cabinets should get in a ring and box it out amongst themselves. I think dialogue like that knows no nationality. However, I read that Adolf Hitler *hated* this film and would not allow it to be shown in Germany. Granted,  he is the extreme, but I wonder if Americans at the time embraced this film precisely because the characters were not American? Compare this film to Wings, which was not exactly propaganda, but did glorify World War I more than this film did. Perhaps there was a sub-text to this film that Germany *had* started the war? I didn't see it, but I suppose it could be there. By now I think there have been enough war films to know that the nationality really doesn't come into it, but in 1930 it probably was a sore subject.
the last scene in the movie...."gone for soldiers, every one...."

All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)
*Academy Award Best Picture 1929-30*
Produced by Carl Laemmle
Directed by Lewis Milestone (Oscar, Best Director)
Screenplay by George Abbott
Adaptation by Del Andrews
Adaptation & Dialogue by Maxwell Anderson
based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque 

trailer for the 1930 release
Also Nominated:
(in alphabetical order)
The Big House
The Divorcee
The Love Parade 
Well, this is the third year in a row where I haven't heard of any of the other nominees for Best Picture. I guess that's not *quite* true: I have heard of Disraeli and The Divorcee, because George Arliss won Best Actor for his role as Benjamin Disraeli and Norma Shearer won Best Actress for her role as The Divorcee. But I've never seen them and I really haven't heard or seen George or Norma in anything else.