Frank Borzage’s adaptation of Hemingway’s 1929 novel A Farewell to Arms premiered 79 years ago, on December 8, 1932. Gary Cooper played the American ambulance driver, Helen Hayes was the English nurse, and war-torn Italy provided the backdrop for an epic love story that’s retained its sexual charge. (A fun fact: Hayes fell in love with Cooper while they were filming, but she never revealed herself.) Borzage thought it was his best film. Hemingway thought it was way overwrought and despised it. We’ve just seen it for the first time, and we’re in the director’s corner. Kino’s new DVD reissue is a flawless HD transfer from the original 35mm print; it’s worth the investment. But if you’re impatient (and willing to sit through the ads), A Farewell to Arms is also available, in its entirety, on YouTube.
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