Prague, Czech Republic – The Netflix adaptation of the classic World War I novel All Quiet on the Western Front is now shooting in the Czech Republic, Deadline reported earlier this week.
Filming of book’s first German-language adaptation underway
Directed by BAFTA-winning filmmaker Edward Berger based on a screenplay – translated into German – by Ian Stokell, Lesley Paterson and Berger, filming of the $20 million production All Quiet on the Western Front is currently underway near Prague, according to media reports. Goodbye Lenin!, Inglourious Basterds and Rush actor Daniel Bruhl will star and be an executive producer of the film.
Apart from the Czech Republic, where production benefits from local incentives designed to attract foreign productions, shooting of key scenes of the movie will also take place in Germany and Belgium.
First revealed last year, the production will be the first German-language version of Eric Maria Remarque’s classic 1928 novel, which follows the fate of three young men enthusiastically enrolling in the German army and has become one of the most landmark books on the horror, absurdity and senselessness of the war in Western literature.
Remarque’s gripping novel, based on his own experience as a soldier during the First World War, was famously adapted by Lewis Milestone in 1930 in a movie that would win the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director. Delbert Mann directed another, lesser-known adaptation of the book in 1979.
All Quiet on the Western Front and the horrors of World War I
“There is no way this film could be made today in a language other than German,” director Edward Berger was quoted as saying. “It’s actually remarkable to think there has never been a German-language version. It’s a real hole in our film history […] We’re thinking of it as being in the tradition of movies like Downfall and Das Boot,” he continued, keen on making “an anti-war film that will truly touch our audience.”
An immediate success at the time of its publication in 1928, All Quiet on the Western Front was followed by a lesser-known sequel The Road Back two years later. Eric Maria Remarque’s passionate and realistic anti-war novel was banned, burned and labelled as “degenerate” in Nazi Germany. Described as “anti-war propaganda”, its publication was also banned or limited in a number of other European countries in the 1930’s.
Today, the colloquial expression “all quiet on the Western front” is used to describe something that stagnates, doesn’t change or evolve in any way.