Not all is quiet in ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’

In “All Quiet on the Western Front,” from director Edward Berger, soldier Paul Bäumer (Felix Kammerer) is present in a pile of rubble by his comrades having survived an evening of enemy shelling. As he good points consciousness, the muffled sounds of battle — significantly the screams of wounded males — seep into the soundscape. He’s shortly put to work accumulating canine tags from the fallen. We hear a crunch at his ft. It’s a pair of glasses. Choosing them up, Paul’s breath races, the environment round him dampens. He turns over a physique mendacity face down within the mud. It’s his good friend. Tears pour down Paul’s face as he tidies up the matted uniform on the lookout for phrases to say goodbye. They by no means come. A simmering melodic rating abruptly halts when somebody shouts at him to maintain shifting. It’s Paul’s second day at battle.

“Everything is told from an emotional standpoint,” says rerecording mixer Lars Ginzel. “We wanted to try and put the audience in Paul’s shoes or position them at his side, while at the same time tell the story.” The German-language movie, tailored from Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel, presents the atrocities of World Battle I by means of an intimate portrait that follows Paul and a handful of comrades.

Sonically, the palette discovered its footing from “letters of soldiers writing back home to their family,” says sound designer and supervising sound editor Frank Kruse. “There are no real recordings from that time. Because there were quite a bunch of writers on the front lines, including Remarque, they tried to describe the sound with metaphorical descriptions.” The letters paved the way in which for the workforce to be aurally genuine but not pinned to “scientific” accuracy. The result’s a visceral, generally haunting soundtrack to the ravages of battle.

Frank Kruse

Every of three epic battle sequences that Berger brings to the display screen stirs a realism of sonic particulars. Gunshots, machine weapons, explosions, planes and even flamethrowers chunk at our ears. When Paul is combating inside a French trench, he finds a area kitchen the place he and comrade Stanislaus “Kat” Katczinsky (Albrecht Schuch) gorge on meals, filling their empty stomachs. The joyous second is interrupted by the shaking floor. Outdoors, by means of the thick fog, a line of tanks seems — the primary time they’ve ever been used on a battlefield. The sounds of the “iron monsters” have been created by combining recordings from manufacturing sound mixer Viktor Prášil with foley classes of metallic screeches and animal noises.

Soldiers shoot flames down an embankment in 'All Quiet on the Western Front.'

Gunshots, machine weapons, explosions, planes and even flamethrowers chunk at our ears in “All Quiet on the Western Front.”


Dialogue was recorded utilizing quite a lot of overhead microphones wielded by increase operators Ondřej Vondráček and Lukáš Kuchař. Moreover, a wi-fi transmitter and small mic was positioned contained in the actors’ helmets for when the troopers fought within the trenches. Prášil additionally recorded quite a lot of wild tracks on set from completely different views, particularly moments that “would be difficult to shoot again or not even possible.” With the assistance of extra on-set sound mixers, Prášil says, “we shot over 40 gigabytes of audio material in mono, stereo and five-channel that was sent to post.”

The battle scenes have been combined so that every — as offered in Atmos, a three-dimensional sound design — got here throughout in a different way, Ginzel says. “We tried not to treat any of the sequences the same. With the tank sequence, it’s a balance between sound effects and music that’s more or less equal. For the last battle sequence before the cease fire, it’s so extreme it was clear music had to lead. It was our way of trying to keep an evolution in the recurring themes we had.”

In a poignant sequence through which Paul has stabbed a French soldier and tries to get him to “shut up” by stuffing mud into his mouth, publish let the actors do the heavy lifting within the scene. “It’s amazing the shift Paul has to go through from killing to trying to save the French soldier. I think the performances are remarkable,” Ginzel says.

Tanks roll across a battlefield.

The sounds of tanks have been created by combining recordings with foley classes of metallic screeches and animal noises.


“The biggest challenge for us was trying to lose all the battle sounds and go to a silent field in the middle of nowhere without the audience noticing. Getting the timing right of that descent was the biggest task.” Kruse provides, “We used the sound of swifts [birds], which doesn’t make sense at all because swifts travel south in the winter. We intentionally used these birds to, hopefully, make this dreamy, sad moment inside Paul where he’s wishing himself away from all this horror.”

There are many quiet, harmless moments as effectively. Like when Paul reads Kat a letter his spouse wrote him. The solar is shining because the wind-chilled air hits their backsides. No sounds of battle are discovered. Or when Paul and his comrades eat a stolen goose as if they’re farm boys, laughing and having a heat meal. It’s in these valleys the place we see (and listen to) some humanity among the many chaos.

One other hanging occasion is a climactic scene through which Kat is shot in an empty, snowy forest. “As he looks up, you hear the wind but there are no leaves in the trees. But we still added the sound of rustling leaves,” Kruse says. “There is this little abstract moment we were able to create from it. It’s one of my favorite sound moments in the film.”

Ginzel provides, “The quiet moments are what keep the whole film together.”