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The Road Back

The Road Back(1937)

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This film was the sequel to Universal's 1930 picture All Quiet on the Western Front, which starred Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim and Slim Summerville and was directed by Lewis Milestone (AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.0094.) Summerville was the only actor to appear in the same role in both films. According to Hollywood Reporter, Jean Rogers was tested for one of the female lead roles in this film. New York Times lists James Whale as producer, as well as director. According to Box Office, German consul George Gyssling served a letter of warning to sixty actors and technicians connected with the making of this film, stating that if anything detrimental to German culture was to be found in the picture, not only would the film be banned from exhibition in that country, but the players appearing in it would also be banned from having their pictures exhibited from all past, present and future productions. A February 1937 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that "powderman George Daly was killed by an exploding bomb on the set" of the film. Modern sources add the following information about the production: The original budget was set at $770,000 with a nine-week shooting schedule. Heavy rains and other delays pushed the film over-schedule. When the production wrapped on 21 Apr, after 73 shooting days, the costs were well over one million dollars. After initial previews, twenty-one separate cuts were ordered to make the film more palatable to the German government. Writer Charles Kenyon was then ordered to interject the script with comedy scenes between Andy Devine and Summerville, which Whale found unsuitable. At that point, Whale left the project and was replaced by Edward Sloman, with Charles Maynard as the new editor. Despite these problems, the film was one of the top-grossing films of 1936-37. This film marked the motion picture debut of Broadway actor John Emery.