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The Independent Critic

John Gavin, Liselotte Pulver, Jock Mahoney
Douglas Sirk
Orin Jannings (Screenplay), Erich Maria Remarque (Novel)
132 Mins.
Eureka Entertainment, "Masters of Cinema"
1080p presentation; SDH Subtitles for Hearing Impaired; Optional isolated music & effects track; "Of Tears and Speed: According to Jean-Luc Godard," 19-minute video interview with Wesley Strick; "Imitation of Life: A Portrait of Douglas Sirk," Original Trailer, and 36-page booklet. 

 "A Time to Love and a Time to Die" Out on Blu-Ray 
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Adapted from a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, who also penned All Quiet on the Western Front, A Time to Love and a Time to Die may be the best known of director Douglas Sirk's late 1950's melodramas. The film is also the latest Sirk film to be picked by Eureka Entertainment to be part of the U.K. based distributor's Masters of Cinema series, an ambitious and even inspiring cinema masterfully bringing to contemporary life many of cinema's truly great films. 

A Time to Love and a Time to Die stars John Gavin as Ernst Graeber, a soldier on the Russian-German front in 1944 who returns to his Hamburg home and discovers a city that bears little resemblance to the city that he'd left behind. He goes about searching for the pieces of his family's life, while falling in love with Elisabeth (Liselotte Pulver), the daughter of his family's physician. 

Returning to his native Germany for this film, Sirk has created a film that is melodramatic and haunting in a way that contrasts beautifully with its Cinemascope presentation. As Ernst and Elisabeth attempt to discover beauty amidst the darkness of war, one can almost feel the rainbow constantly a few steps out of reach. Shot with an almost episodic feeling, A Time to Love and a Time to Die is infused with a stark intimacy that lingers over the course of the film's two hour running time. Both Gavin and Pulver are nicely cast here, capturing both the starkness and the intimacy through their performances in a way that makes feel their longing for one another. 

The film was nominated for one Oscar Award in 1959 for Best Sound, but the film's entire production package has been beautifully restored by Eureka in this 1080p video presentation. They've also added a wealth of extras that will delight fans of Sirk's films while likely attracting a new generation of fans. 

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic  

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