Farewell to Arms, A

Farewell to Arms, A

Broadcast: 24th June 1949
Added: Sep 13 2013

The word classic is easily used but "Farewell To Arms" deserves no lesser epithet. This radio version is a quite faithful adaption of the Hemingway original which tells the bittersweet tale of Lieutenant Frederic Henry of the Italian Ambulance Corps in the first world war. Lieutenant Henry finds himself romancing a young volunteer nurse Catherine Barkley working in a services hospital. The backdrop of war-torn Europe is brought into vivid focus as we hear how the simple act of falling in love is diminished by the horrible reality of fighting a war.
After an injury and a spell in hospital Lieutenant Henry receives visits from Catherine. Their love blossoms and as it does the reality of the danger they live with drives them towards a doomed plan of survival which does not have room for war. In the end though it is not war that is their undoing but life itself and therein lies the tragic irony of this tale, that perhaps however far and fast we may run from danger nothing is ever sure and there are few paths that can guarantee safe passage.

The narration through the voice of Henry effectively paints a portrait of foolish war made even more so by that beautiful and rare landscape which serves as its stage and the tragic mood is perfectly set by a cast who bring this world to life.