HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
Jiu Jitsu
Blind
Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie
Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?
   
 
Newest Articles
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
   
 
  Oh! What a Lovely War The Lost Generation
Year: 1969
Director: Richard Attenborough
Stars: John Mills, Dirk Bogarde, Phyllis Calvert, Jean-Pierre Cassel, John Gielgud, Jack Hawkins, Kenneth More, Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave, Ralph Richardson, Maggie Smith, Susannah York, Joe Melia, Ian Holm, Maurice Roëves, Edward Fox
Genre: Musical, WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1914, and in Europe the heads of the various nations are beginning to grumble about each other, with the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand's position shaky, as France is eyeing Serbia as a possible cause for aggression. When he is assassinated, France delcares war, drawing in the other countries to be pitted against each other, but you cannot have a war without soldiers so the call goes up to the men of Europe to take up arms against their neighbours. Roll up, roll up for the ever popular war games! With songs, battles and a few jokes!

Joan Littlewood's Oh! What a Lovely War was a legendary stage production of the nineteen-sixties, skewering the warmongers by taking the instigators of World War I to task, and such was its impact that actor and producer Richard Attenborough and writer Len Deighton secured the rights and began drawing up their plans to bring it to the screen. Some years later it was finished, Deighton had removed his producer's credit thanks to a falling out with Attenborough, and the reviews were mixed to say the least. Many who had seen this originally in the theatre version were dismayed at what they viewed as a clumsy and heavy-handed, if impressively star-studded, adaptation.

However, there were others who appreciated that by opening out much of what had been staged on a pier set in the source, first time director Attenborough had brought a much-needed cinematic sensibility to what after all could have simply been a film of the play. Indeed, it was those sequences which owed the most to the play that seemed stuffy and airless, and when he allowed his story to breathe by employing the tricks of the movie business he tapped into what he wished to bring across. That being the senseless loss of millions of lives as part of the Great War, and Attenborough with his famously left-leaning outlook relished the chance to attack the ruling classes for their callousness.

We are supposed to be following the travails of the Smith family, who see their young men drafted or volunteering as they believe it is their duty to Britain, which the film understands but refuses to condone, viewing those soldiers as misguided in their patriotism when the world would have been much better off with them left alive. It is historical figures such as Douglas Haig (John Mills), the leader of the British forces, who receive the most corrosive depictions, continually sending his men into battle as the casualties mount up in horrifying numbers: a scoreboard shows that not only do conflicts such as the Somme see hundreds of thousands of people die in a matter of days, but that many are cut down in the space of hours too.

This retained the music of the play, so popular songs of the day, many of them still recognisable tunes now, were sung by the cast and placed in context where you can understand the true meaning of their apparently carefree lyrics, which turn out to be nothing of the sort. This cheeriness in the face of death is admirable, but doesn't stop the soldiers dying, and eventually the increasing misery becomes relentless no matter how often ironic counterpoints are introduced. By 1969 when this was released the anti-war movement had come on in leaps and bounds, and sadly the film's themes have never really gone out of fashion, but for all the criticism it received there was a noble quality here, even if it was a folly for many. Attenbrough rarely liked to do things by halves in regard to his directorial outings, and if the results in this case were more elephantine and heaving with significance, they conveyed emotional power almost in spite of their overbearing style. The unforgettable final shot of the multitude of crosses proves that.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2698 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this 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 star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: