Douglas Sirk the master of the Hollywood melodrama turns back to his native Germany at the time of the Second World War for the film that would stand as his penultimate American feature: A Time to Love and a Time to Die. A CinemaScope production staged on a grand scale, Sirk's picture nevertheless pulsates with an intimacy that has known longing for too long, and seethes with the repression of emotions poised to explode like bombs. John Gavin plays Ernst Gräber, a soldier on the Russian-German Front in 1944 venturing home to Hamburg on a rare furlough. Upon arrival, he discovers a city that bears little resemblance to the one he left behind and so, through the rubble of the air-raids, he searches desperately for fragments of his family's shattered lives. But amid the shards, he falls in love with Elisabeth (Liselotte Pulver), the charming daughter of his parents' doctor, and thus activates a magnetism that compels both individuals toward one another in love, even as it hurtles them headlong into epochal death. Adapted from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque (the author of All Quiet on the Western Front, who also makes a cameo appearance in Sirk's picture), A Time to Love and a Time to Die takes its literary source and sculpts it anew out of matter made from colour, decor, and performance and arguably bests the novel on all aesthetic levels. And yet perhaps nothing can better summarise the power of Sirk's film or of his entire body of work than these words from the movie's trailer: "Their pounding hearts drowned out the sound of chaos thundering around them." The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Douglas Sirk's 1958 masterpiece for the first time on home video in the UK. ****SPECIAL TWO-DISC Edition including: --Gorgeous new anamorphic transfer of the film in its original 2:35:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio --English SDH subtitles for the hearing impaired --OF TEARS AND SPEED: ACCORDING TO JEAN-LUC GODARD a 12-minute, visually annotated recitation of Jean-Luc Godard's seminal essay on Sirk's film. --19-minute video interview with Wesley Strick, screenwriter of Scorsese's Cape Fear and author of the novel Out There in the Dark, a roman-à-clef based upon Sirk's life in Hollywood and his relationship with the estranged son who took a starring role in Hitler Youth propaganda. --IMITATION OF LIFE [MIRAGE OF LIFE]: A PORTRAIT OF DOUGLAS SIRK a 49-minute film portrait from 1984, directed by Daniel Schmid and photographed by Renato Berta, of Douglas Sirk and his wife Hilda in conversation, and reflecting, from their apartment in Germany, back upon their lives in Hollywood. --The original trailer for the film, from the time it retained the provisional title of simply "A TIME TO LOVE" --36-page booklet containing the complete text of Jean-Luc Godard's essay on the film, writings from critic Tag Gallagher on the film and Sirk's career in general, and an assemblage of notes that includes excerpts from Sirk's reflections upon the film, remarks upon visual motifs inside the movie, the CinemaScope process used to photograph the picture, and more.
During World War II, German soldier Ernst Graeber (John Gavin) leaves the ferocious fighting on the Russian front to return home on furlough but upon arrival finds his house decimated and his parents gone. He and a childhood acquaintance, Elizabeth Kruse (Lilo Pulver), find one another amid the ruins of the town and fall in love, though Graeber knows he must eventually leave Elizabeth and return to combat.
Director Douglas Sirk, drawn throughout his brilliant career to stories of desperate men and women ensnared in perilous affairs, found his most extreme scenario with A TIME TO LOVE AND A TIME TO DIE. The result of this perfect match between director and subject matter is astounding: a film in which each feverish frame shimmers with an almost supernatural intensity. While focusing unwaveringly on the doomed love of the couple at the centre of his film, Sirk also explores the darkest corners of a world tearing itself apart. A particularly frightening element of Sirk's epic canvas is the men in Graeber's town allowing the war to transform them into nightmare versions of themselves. A TIME TO LOVE AND A TIME TO DIE was based on a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, who has a cameo role in the film.
Keenan Wynn, Lilo Pulver, John Gavin
30 Mar 2009
Region 2 (Európa)
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