A Farewell to Arms

Director: Frank Borzage
Year Released: 1932
Rating: 1.0

Hollywood's had a field day butchering Hemingway (The Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls) and this clipped adaptation is no exception - the critically-acclaimed director Borzage (who I still fail to be impressed by) makes Papa's novel turn into soap opera fluff for the last act instead of conveying a deep sense of fatal romanticism (Borzage's bent is on spirituality instead of gritty realism). Part of the problem is the 'performance' of Gary Cooper, who at times in his career is closer to a talking pillar than an actor - if anything, his wounded soldier is at times a deeply unpleasant and stubborn man-child (which could possibly be said about Hemingway himself). Cooper's looked vacant before - like in Capra's Meet John Doe - but at least in those other films he was cast with the intent of being naive.