Arms and the Man (1958): German Oscar Nominee, Based on George Bernard Shaw Play

Franz Peter Wirth directed Arms and the Man, or Heroes (German: Helden) is a West German historical comedy, based on the 1894 play by George Bernard Shaw.

Arms and the Man
Arms and the Man (film).jpg

It was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (but didn’t win), after playing at the 1959 Cannes Film Fest. The winner was Jacques Tati’s farce, Mon Oncle.

The sets of the film, which was shot at the Bavaria Studios in Munich, were designed by the art director Hermann Warm.

Set in 1865, the tale sets on a Swiss captain named Bluntschli, who fights as mercenary in the war between Bulgaria and Serbia. When his group’s attacked by a few Bulgarian troopers, he learns that he’s got the wrong ammunition for his cannon and has to flee.

However, his flight leads him right into the bedroom of his enemy’s fiancĂ©e.

O. W. Fischer as Hauptmann Bluntschli
Liselotte Pulver as Raina Petkoff
Ellen Schwiers as Louka
Jan Hendriks as Leutnant Sergius Slivitzna
Ljuba Welitsch as Katharina
Kurt Kasznar as Petkoff
Manfred Inger as Nicola
Horst Tappert
Hans Clarin


Directed by Franz Peter Wirth
Written by George Bernard Shaw (play), Eberhard Keindorff,
Johanna Sibelius

Produced by Peter Goldbaum, Harry R. Sokal

Cinematography Klaus von Rautenfeld
Edited by Claus von Boro
Music by Franz Grothe

Production and distribution company: Bavaria Film

Release date: November 20, 1958

Running time: 100 minutes