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JULY 23-AUG. 1
Strictly speaking, this miniseries should be billed as “Slightly Wider Screen.” That’s because its centerpiece, the newly restored All Quiet on the Western Front (pictured), is not widescreen; the Library of Congress restoration simply reinstates the full image, which was trimmed slightly on both sides to make room for the film’s soundtrack. Based on Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel about the pointless slaughter of a brigade of idealistic young Germans in World War I, Lewis Milestone’s 1930 film is remarkably bleak for the Hollywood of the era, and its battle scenes are as vivid and anarchic as any filmed before the ’80s vogue for Vietnam epics. The film was cut into many versions—including one as short as 80 minutes—and often sullied with inappropriate music. This 133-minute renovation is almost as long as the original, restores evocative scenes, and rebalances Milestone’s careful compositions, which often involve frames within frames. These screenings (at 8:15 p.m. Friday, July 23, and 1 p.m. Sunday, July 25) will be introduced by restoration supervisor David Parker. The series also includes two other pictures from 1930: Roland West’s The Bat Whispers (at 3:45 p.m. Saturday, July 24, and 8:30 p.m. Sunday, July 25), a creaky old-dark-house fable notable for its visual flair, and Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail (at 8:30 p.m. Friday, July 30, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1), a wagon-train picture originally shot in both 35 mm and widescreen and notable both for its spectacular vistas and for establishing John Wayne’s career. At the Kennedy Center’s American Film Institute National Film Theater. $6.50. (202) 785-4600. (Mark Jenkins)