HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Walk with Me
JFK
Kirlian Witness, The
Kid for Two Farthings, A
The Freshman
Hear My Song
Wild Wild West
Cure
Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend
Locke the Superman
Psycho
Magic Flute, The
Top Secret
Ghost Punting
Hitman's Bodyguard, The
Touch, The
Akko's Secret
Backfire
Loving Vincent
Adventures of the Wilderness Family, The
Plot of Fear
Desperate Chase, The
Baskin
Time and Tide
X - Night of Vengeance
Bunny Drop
Acts of Vengeance
Asura: The City of Madness
In This Corner of the World
Dirty Pair: Project Eden
   
 
Newest Articles
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
   
 
  How I Won The War Whose Side Are You On?Buy this film here.
Year: 1967
Director: Richard Lester
Stars: Michael Crawford, John Lennon, Roy Kinnear, Lee Montague, Jack MacGowran, Michael Hordern, Jack Hedley, Karl Michael Vogler, Ronald Lacey, James Cossins, Ewan Hooper, Alexander Knox, Robert Hardy, Sheila Hancock, Charles Dyer
Genre: Comedy, War, Weirdo
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: At the end of World War II, by the Rhine, Lieutenant Ernest Goodbody (Michael Crawford) stages an abortive attempt to cross the river with his men, but ends up captured by the Germans. After being kicked around by the Nazi soldiers, he strikes up a friendship with one of the German commanding officers (Karl Michael Vogler), who he begins to tell the tales of his combat experiences to. He had a more privileged background that many of the recruits, and unlike them felt he could be very useful in the war, but the swelling ranks of British army are unprepared for the conflict - not just in terms of equipment, but in attitude as well.

This subversive war satire (and war movie send-up) was scripted by Charles Wood from the novel by Patrick Ryan, and unsteadily set out to put forward the view that soldiers, not only of the Second World War, but of any war (this was released at the time of the Vietnam conflict), were taken advantage of by their country's leaders and their lives thrown away. It's probably best known today for being the only film that John Lennon starred in without the Beatles, but in truth, if you're expecting his second billing to indicate a co-starring role, then be prepared to see him rather lost, throwing away sardonic comments, in the ensemble supporting cast - it's the hard-working Crawford who appears in almost every scene.

Goodbody is put in charge of a regiment, the "Musketeers", and sent to North Africa. Instead of being given a combat mission, they are instructed to head behind enemy lines and find an oasis where they can build a cricket field - they bring along a cumbersome roller to assist. Goodbody's men are preoccupied with personal problems, all caused by the war: Clapper (Roy Kinnear) is worried about his wife sleeping around now that he is not there, as she keeps writing to him to tell him so, Juniper (Jack MacGowran) is being driven barmy so that he appears as a clown, complete with costume, and Drogue (James Cossins) is waiting for the point at which he dies, which he has prior knowledge of.

This is no conventional war movie, it's self-consciously wacky and determinedly disillusioned about heroics, two attitudes which make for a cluttered result. Director Richard Lester is not afraid to add slapstick - Crawford ends up stuck headfirst up to his middle in the sand - and Wood's lines include many wry observations and non sequiturs, which has the effect of seeming like many conversations on the same subject all mixed up together. Constantly threatening to collapse into confusion, the film isn't all that funny either, as its abrasiveness and awkwardness dulls the humour and dilutes the sympathy for the more hapless soldiers, who need all the sympathy they can get in their situation.

The higher echelons of the army are represented by Colonel Grapple (Michael Hordern), who sums them up by being aloof, uncaring of the danger his men are in, and possibly insane with power. Goodbody is making his way up the ranks, and his troops all secretly want to kill him, forcing themselves not to at times. When the soldiers finally succumb to the inevitable, i.e. getting killed, they return to be represented as ghostly, silent figures in different colours corresponding to battles - green, pink, orange, blue - but Goodbody, the man whose inept decisions has put them in that position, remains not only unharmed, but still in charge. How I Won The War believes that even in a just war, the soldiers are exploited and prey to the whims of their superiors, and if they don't end up dead, then they're certainly not enjoying many benefits, either, no matter that they win. A contentious opinion, and not one which is smoothly conveyed by this jumbled film because they don't offer a convincing alternative. Music by Ken Thorne.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 8355 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Richard Lester  (1932 - )

American director, from television, in Britain whose initially zany style could give way to genuine suspense and emotion. After making his film debut with short The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film, which featured Goons Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, he went on to throwaway projects like It's Trad, Dad and Mouse on the Moon. His next, however, was a smash hit all over the world: A Hard Day's Night, not least because it had The Beatles as stars.

Lester was at his most successful in the sixties and early seventies, with notable movies like The Knack, Beatles follow up Help!, stage adaptation A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, satire How I Won the War, romance Petulia, weird comedy The Bed Sitting Room, The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers and very British disaster movie Juggernaut.

Efforts like Royal Flash, Robin and Marian, gay bathhouse comedy The Ritz and Cuba made less impact, but in the eighties Lester was called in to salvage the Superman series after Richard Donner walked off Superman II; Lester also directed Superman III. Finders Keepers was a flop comedy, and Return of the Musketeers had a tragic development when one of his regular cast, Roy Kinnear, died while filming. Lester then decided to give up directing, with Paul McCartney concert Get Back his last film.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Mark Scampion
  Frank Michaels
   

 

Last Updated: