A Farewell to Arms is the movie version of Ernest Hemingway's great anti-war love story. The movie, concentrating more on the love portion of the story, deals with serious life issues and tackles the horrors of world war. Soon, Hollywood would find this adult treatment of serious topics to be unacceptable and concentrate on screwball comedies using racial stereotypes.
I very much liked this movie. It was serious, entertaining, artistic, and gripping. It made me want to read the book. I give it an AMRU of 4.0. But that won't do. Total spoilers to follow.
The dashing elderly Major Rinaldi (Adolphe Menjou) has his eyes on the verginal 30-something ingenue Nurse Catherine (Helen Hayes, whom you may remember as the old lady in Herbie Rides Again). He enlists the help of a lowly ambulance driver, American Lieutenant Frederic Henry (Gary Cooper, sooper dooper) who then proceeds to totally cockblock his good friend and scores her using Rinaldi's booze. What a douche.
Well, Henry has to leave as all good players must, and Catherine must pretend that she doesn't really care, but inside good Catherine a baby grows. What? On the first time? Hollywood wouldn't admit to that possibility again for another 30 years. Anyhow, what's good for the gander is good for the other gander. Letters from Catherine are being held up by the lovelorn Rinaldi and incoming letters from Henry are returned to sender. See how he likes THOSE apples!
Well, it seems, Henry truly is in love with Catherine, and Catherine the same with Henry, but this damn war just keeps getting in the way. What's a lovelorn Lieutenant in the foreign legion to do? I know, desert! That'll solve EVERYONE'S problems!
Well, Rinaldi would never had f'd with the young(ish) lovers if had he known a baby was involved, so it's up to him to bail is foolish friend out. Well, they find each other in Amsterdam and live Happily Ever After. No, seriously. They do. Rent the film and find out.
I loved this movie, and it's a crime that movies like it would not be allowed for decades after. Great acting, great story, great script.