Although a great deal of F. Scott Fitzgerald's screenplay for Three Comrades was rewritten (by both credited scenarist Edward E. Paramore, Jr. and a number of uncredited writers, including producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz), the spirit of Fitzgerald hovers palpably over this excellent adaptation of the Erich Maria Remarque novel. Comrades is about another group of lost souls, and if only one of them has a connection to the privileged class that is often a Fitzgerald hallmark, they all share an obsession with escaping from the past and with finding a "Good" within and among themselves to take the place of an absent "god." There's the potential for all this to come across as pretentious or off-putting, but in fact Three Comrades is simple and totally involving. The characters live and breathe with a wonderful cinematic realism, and most viewers will soon find themselves quite wrapped up in their stories. A large part of the credit must go to Frank Borzage, who directs with a combination of strength and sensitivity and always keeps the film firmly on track, even making moving and inspirational an ending that could come across as hokey or mawkish . He's enormously helped by a quartet of actors who do exceptional work. Each of the stars commits him/herself completely to the part, making each character beautifully real. Equally important, there's an indescribable chemistry between the quartet as a whole and between each individual member. Comrades is a haunting, moving, deeply human film.
by Craig Butler review