The Dynamic Frame: Camera Movement in Classical Hollywood

3.5 All Quiet on the Western Front

Taking full advantage of Universal’s Broadway Boom, the battle sequences combine the dynamic camerawork of Murnau with the rapid editing of montage. In one scene, a stationary shot of a German soldier firing a machine gun is intercut with a shot traveling from left to right, showing one soldier after another felled by brutal gunfire. The result is a graphic pattern of alternation—stasis, motion, stasis, motion—that imitates the workings of a machine gun, with its rapid but unbearably systematic motion.

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