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All Quiet Review

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( Dec 1908 -- Dec 1996)  

Lew Ayres was born in Minneapolis and grew up in San Diego. He dropped out of college and began playing bit parts in films in 1927. He was discovered playing banjo and guitar with the Henry Halstead Orchestra when it recorded one of the first Vitaphone short films called Carnival Night in Paris   . He was cast opposite Greta Garbo in The Kiss (1929) but it was All Quiet on the Western Front   that made him a star. He became a matinee idol playing the lead in the Doctor Kildare series of films. As a pacifist, he applied to serve in the Medical Corps during World War II, but when the military wouldn't promise him medical duty he declared himself a conscientious objector. The Army relented under the pressure of bad publicity and Ayres served with distinction as a combat medic in the Pacific during the war. Movie jobs were scarce after the war but in 1948 he appeared with Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda   and was nominated for an Oscar. Wyman fell in love with him and divorced her husband, actor Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately for her, Ayres didn't become her next husband. Married three times, his second wife, from 1934 to 1940, was actress/dancer Ginger Rogers. His credits include 37 feature films, several TV mini-series and appearances in numerous television dramatic and comedy programs. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


"He fell ... on a day when the Army report confined itself to a single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front."   

     Lew Ayres stars in this compelling adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's * eloquent pacifist novel about a group of German schoolboys who find themselves in a different world - the Kaiser's army in "The Great War." As the months go by, the group has fewer and fewer survivors. This classic film received the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director. There have been several remakes in both film and TV, but none has quite equalled this original. * Remarque was a German veteran of WWI who relocated to France after the war. His name was originally Kramer, an obviously German name. He found it useful in France to spell his name backward and replace the "k" at the end with the more Gallic "que."


1930, Directed by Lewis Milestone

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The African Queen       All Quiet on the Western Front    The Apartment    Bambi    Ben Hur    
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