A Time to Love and a Time to Die (4 stars)

A Time to Love and a Time to Die

(PG) 127min (Eureka DVD retail)


For his penultimate American film in 1958, Douglas Sirk, master of Hollywood melodrama, returned to his native Germany to shoot his most personal film. Adapted from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque (author of All Quiet on the Western Front), it’s the story of a soldier (hunky John Gavin) who temporarily escapes the horror of the Russian-German front on a furlough back home to bombed-out Berlin. Here he searches for his missing parents and falls in love with a local girl (sweet Liselotte Pulver). Sirk’s own son – who was estranged after his father left the boy’s Nazi mother to marry a Jewish woman – went missing-in-action on the Russian front and this sad tale is reflected in the compassionate treatment of Gavin’s tragically brutalised grunt. As usual with Sirk, everything is on a grand scale, from the glorious CinemaScope photography to the wildly emotive performances. Extras: Two-disc set featuring a new anamorphic film transfer and three documentaries plus an accompanying booklet and lots more.

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