2 November 2008 | zolaaar
Remarque's novel (which I haven't read) Der Weg zurück/The Road Back is a sequel to his All Quiet on the Western Front. Whale's (or rather Universal's) The Road Back has Slim Summerville as Tjaden again and mentions the names of Kat, Detering and Paul Bäumer in order to directly tie on the preceding film's success. Without success. Surely, The Road Back has a great first half, but, alas, a second half which does not hold up very well. Whale's excellent talent in directing is apparent, but as soon as the German soldiers arrive at home after World War I, it drifts too much into sentiment and pathos, without holding back the one or the other really powerful scene, (especially the one in the mental hospital) and some truly wonderful performances by Slim Summerville and Andy Devine. The choreography of the mass scene towards the end is impressive as well (which resembles Eisenstein's famous Odessa shots a lot). So, it's not really forgettable, but slight disappointment nonetheless.