How big, how important is Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, the classic novel about the horrors of war? It’s difficult to quantify, but that will not stop this tin-eared scribe and mucho fan from at least making the attempt: All Quiet on the Western Front is essential reading about the ultimate futility of war and is rightly considered by most people to be the single greatest novel about armed conflict ever written. These are heavy accolades indeed and justly given, I might add. The 1930 adaptation by director Lewis Milestone is no piker, either; I put it on par with Spielberg’s equally masterful treatise on World War Two, Saving Private Ryan. So yeah, I’m a fan. And apparently so is Netflix.
From no less of a source than our distinguished competition at Variety comes today’s breaking news that streaming giant Netflix has scooped up world rights to a new mega-budgeted adaptation of Remarque’s novel. This adaptation is directed by Edward Berger (The Terror) and stars Daniel Bruhl (The Zookeeper’s Wife).
Berger’s adaptation is already considered to be one of the biggest budgeted films to have ever come out of Germany and this is even before one iota of film has been shot (assuming, of course, that this new adaptation is shot on film and not on digital). The film itself does not go in front of cameras until March of 2021 and has been adapted for the silver screen by onetime Washington Post reporter Ian Stokell alongside producer and actor Lesley Paterson.
Earlier in 2020, director Berger commented on the gestating project, calling it a “physical, visceral and very modern film that has never been told from my country’s perspective.” The two previous film versions of the novel originated from the United States and the United Kingdom. Berger’s adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front will be the first time the story, which originated inside of Germany, will actually be told through that particular prism, lending this latest look at the timeless tale an extra sense of authenticity to Remarque’s nearly one hundred year old text.
All Quiet on the Western Front will be produced by Daniel Dreifuss and Malte Grunert of the production house Amusement Park.