Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Three Comrades(1938)

Three Comrades 1938. Drama directed by Frank Borzage. The screenplay is by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edward E. Paramore Jr., and was adapted from the novel Three Comrades by Erich Maria Remarque (also considered the loose basis for The Deer Hunter in 1978). This was F. Scott Fitzgerald's only screenwriting credit. Robert Young replaced Spencer Tracy. Cast: Robert Taylor, Margaret Sullavan, Franchot Tone, and Robert Young. Sullavan was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

As the war has ended three loyal friends Erich Lohkamp, Otto Koster and Gottfried Lenz, try to start their civilian life by opening a auto repair shop and taxi business and are barely able to make a living.

Video: Three Comrades (1938) -- We'd Have Let You Win

One day, while celebrating the birthday of Erich, Otto and Gottfried drive him to a country inn where they meet aristocrat Patricia Hollmann. Patricia and Erich, seem to hit it off and Otto and Gottfried encourage their relationship, but not knowing that she is now poor, Erich feels that Pat's background will keep them apart.

When she invites him to the opera, they run into a mysterious friend Herr Breuer, a wealthy man who is in love with Pat, He invites them to a nightclub. Erich's borrowed tuxedo starts to fall apart, which causes him to leave. Pat is waiting for him outside his apartment when he arrives home, the two realize that they are in love.

Gottfried tries to convince Erich to marry Pat, despite his financial troubles and when Otto tries to convince Pat to marry Erich, she reveals that she had been very ill because of her lungs. Otto convinces her that she should marry Erich, no matter how brief their time together...

On their honeymoon, Pat collapses on the beach. When the doctor says that she may die if her hemorrhaging does not stop, Erich calls Otto to find Pat's doctor. Driving like a mad man through the fog in his beloved car "Baby," Otto brings Dr. Jaffe, just in time to save Pat, but the doctor warns that she must go to a sanitarium in the fall. Through the summer months, Otto, Erich, Gottfried and Pat have a wonderful time together.

Idealist Gottfried, falls victim of the times and is torn between his loyalty to his friends and his belief in the teachings of political pacifist Dr. Heinrich Becker. On the day that Pat leaves for the sanitarium, Gottfried is shot to death by men who are trying to kill Becker. Now faced with the loss of Gottfried as well Pat's illness, Erich and Otto sell their shop and go searching for Gottfried's killer. Otto finally finds the murderer and shoots him in self-defense. That same night, Erich finds out that Pat must have an operation. When Otto and Erich visit her, they learn that the operation will cost over one thousand marks, Otto decides to sell "Baby" to pay for the operation  .

When Otto goes to see her, he tells her that Gottfried is dead and that he has sold "Baby," and she tells him that their self-sacrifices for her must stop. He comforts her by telling her to live for Erich. As Otto leaves the sanitarium, Pat walks to the window... Will Erich, see her and get to her in time?

A beautiful drama about love and friendship. Robert Taylor, one of my favorite actors gives a dignified performance as Erich. Margaret Sullivan, gives a valiant performance as Pat. This film is very much worth watching. Great performances by all.

Margaret Sullavan (May 16, 1909 – January 1, 1960), began her career onstage in 1929.

In 1933 she caught the attention of movie director John M. Stahl and had her debut on the screen that same year in Only Yesterday.

Sullavan preferred working on the stage and made only 16 movies, four of which were opposite James Stewart in a successful partnership.

She retired from the screen in the early forties, but returned in 1950 to make her last movie, No Sad Songs for Me (1950), in which she plays a woman who is dying of cancer. For the rest of her career she would only appear on the stage.

She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in her seventh film, Three Comrades (1938). A drama set in post–World War I Germany. Three returning German soldiers meet Sullavan who joins them and eventually marries one of them. Sullavan made no further films, and acted only on the stage, after 1950.

She experienced increasing hearing problems, depression, and mental frailty in the 1950's. She died of an overdose of barbiturates, which was ruled accidental, on January 1, 1960 at the age of 50.

Sullavan's elder daughter, actress Brooke Hayward, wrote Haywire, a best-selling memoir about her family, which was made into a television movie starring Lee Remick as Margaret Sullavan and Jason Robards as Leland Hayward.


  1. I caught this film about a year ago and quite enjoyed it. It's got a great cast. I adore Robert Taylor, and Franchot is pretty high on my list too.

    I don't know much about Margaret Sullavan, so I appreciate the info you provided. What a tragic end at such a young age!

  2. This was my first viewing of the film Three Comrades and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed watching it..


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