Raymond Bernard - Les croix de bois (1932) DVDRip

Posted By: supersoft
Raymond Bernard - Les croix de bois (1932) DVDRip

Les croix de bois (1932)
Wooden crosses

114 min | Xvid 656x480 | 1518 kb/s | 23.976 fps | 48000 Hz 192 kb/s AC3 | 1.36 GB + 3% recovery record
French | Subtitles: English .srt | Genre: War / Drama

Set during WWI, the story concentrates on a handful of French draftees, including an idealistic student named Demachy. Marching off to war with joyful patriotic fervor, the men are quickly disillusioned by the appalling realities of total warfare. When they aren't enduring ten nonstop days of enemy bombardment, the soldiers must sweat out the horrible realization that their trenches are being mined from underground. Nor are they given any relief during those rare lulls in fighting. At one point, the men are yanked away from a much-needed furlough to march in a victory parade for the entertainment of their callous, fat-cat superior officers. One by one, the men are killed off, until only Demachy remains - but, tragically, not for long.

Raymond Bernard - Les croix de bois (1932) DVDRip

Raymond Bernard - Les croix de bois (1932) DVDRip


Les Croix de Bois (Wooden Crosses) may well be the most powerful anti-war film ever made; certainly it is the grimmest and most uncompromising. Starting with an impressionistic shot of a gloomy hillside studded with white grave markings, the film delineates the hopelessness and horror of war in such explicit terms that at times it's nearly impossible to watch.

Raymond Bernard - Les croix de bois (1932) DVDRip

Raymond Bernard - Les croix de bois (1932) DVDRip


French War Picture Acclaimed by Critics as A Masterpiece of Realism and Simplicity

ONE of the great films in motion picture history opened in Paris last week—the long-awaited war picture, Les Croix de Bois (Wooden Crosses). The impression created by it has been overwhelming—the critic, the public, and, most significant of all, the war veteran hailing it as the first and truest expression of the war as it really was. As such it is a historical document of inestimable value, but it is more than that, too. It is a thrilling expression of human heroism.

The acclaim with which this picture has been greeted is justly mixed with exultation. The French are proud of themselves that after these years when even the best war pictures, such as All Quiet on the Western Front, found it necessary to inject romantic, rhetorical and even bombastic passages, not to mention dubious anecdotes, a French company has done the soldier the justice of depicting his life at the front just as it was.

Here we have artistic sincerity—no frills and furbelows, no lovely girls, no artifices, no freak photography, no declamation, no exaggeration. Raymond Bernard decided that nothing could be more dramatic or thrilling than the simple truth. One would think such a conclusion rather obvious, but the answer to that is that it took fourteen years to figure it out.

As one critic (and war veteran) put it: "The film Les Croix de Bois marks a totally new stage in war cinema photography. Will any one dare, after this, dupe us and abuse us with falsely heroic daubings intended to depict the war?"

A Fine Script

To begin with, the director has a perfect scenario in the form of the book of the same name by Raymond Dorgelès—a work easily comparable in its way to the German All Quiet on the Western Front, and the English play, Journey's End. It is obvious, too, that M. Bernard had the complete support of his producers, Pathé Natan. Last, but far from least, he had truly superb material in his actors—every one of them a war veteran of whom the director only asked that they relive the terrible days of 1915.

The result is a picture which says the last word on its subject. It is at the same time a document and a work of art — a history that is an epic of heroism and martyrdom. Though French to the very core, its appeal is universal. Though the protagonists are simply a handful of men from a French infantry regiment, through the artistic fusion of the elementary passions which animate them they became every soldier, Everyman.

The plot is very simple. We see a squad from the Thirty-ninth Infantry fight through certain dark months of 1915 in the Champagne district, until every man of them is a casualty. First we see the flame burning above the tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe; then row upon row of soldiers standing at attention and fading into row upon row of wooden crosses; finally a brief vision of Paris on the day the war was declared, and the story begins. The war scenes are a stupendous technical tour de force, faithful to the smallest detail.{…}

It is this fidelity which is the outstanding achievement of the film. The authors sought only to give us the reality in all its horrors, its crudities, its agonies and its greatness. The dialogue is taken directly from the book and consists chiefly of biting sallies, grim jokes, slang phrases—all the restrained emotion of men living at the breaking point, afraid to give way to their feelings, but seeing with bitter humor the irony of their situation. There is an exaltation about the grim jesting in the face of tragedy which gives a curious touch of nobility to what they say. The coarseness, the blasphemy even, upon which men fall back in times like those, is but a camouflage for emotions which must not be expressed lest they make men lose their courage. This quality, which Dorgelès expressed so beautifully in his book, is expertly caught for the screen.

Excerpt from article by HERBERT L. MATTHEWS, published April 3, 1932 in The New York Times

Raymond Bernard - Les croix de bois (1932) DVDRip

Raymond Bernard - Les croix de bois (1932) DVDRip


Such was the impact of Les Croix de Bois, that, when it was shown on French television in the 1970s, a WWI survivor who watched the film for the first time was so overwhelmed by despair that he committed suicide. Generous portions of the film's battle sequences were later incorporated in the 1934 John Ford film The World Moves On and the 1936 Howard Hawks production The Road to Glory.

Raymond Bernard - Les croix de bois (1932) DVDRip

Raymond Bernard - Les croix de bois (1932) DVDRip


High quality rip with meGUI from the extraordinary Eclipse Collection DVD9 uploaded by CerealRipper here at Avax.

Script: Raymond Bernard, book by Roland Dorgelès
Sound: Antoine Archimbaud
Cinematography: Jules Kruger, René Ribault
Cast: Pierre Blanchar, Gabriel Gabrio, Charles Vanel, Raymond Aimos, Antonin Artaud, Paul Azaïs, René Bergeron, Raymond Cordy, Marcel Delaître, Jean Galland, Pierre Labry, Geo Laby, René Montis, Jean-François Martial, Marc Valbel