HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Initiation
Redoubt
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
PG: Psycho Goreman
Maeve
Sound of Metal
Things of Life, The
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
   
 
Newest Articles
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
   
 
  What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? War Party
Year: 1966
Director: Blake Edwards
Stars: James Coburn, Dick Shawn, Sergio Fantoni, Giovanna Ralli, Aldo Ray, Harry Morgan, Carroll O'Connor, Leon Askin, Rico Cattani, Jay Novello, Vito Scotti, Johnny Seven, Art Lewis, William Bryant, Kurt Kreuger, Robert Carricart, Ralph Manza, Danny Francis
Genre: Comedy, WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Captain Lionel Cash (Dick Shawn) marches into the tent of Colonel Bolt (Carroll O'Connor) as ordered, and awaits instructions. It is Sicily in 1943, and the Italian Army are losing the battle against the Allies, but those forces are overstretched, and Bolt wishes Cash to take Company C to investigate a small village which may be important, but probably isn't. They are both aware the troops are in need of rest and relaxation, but the war isn't going to wait around for them, and the by the book Cash believes strict discipline will get them where they need to be. He is somewhat perturbed by Bolt's request that he say "Good night, Max" to him as he leaves, but it doesn't matter, he is soon applying himself with vigour...

Blake Edwards became known for his comedies in the nineteen-sixties, though he dabbled in drama and thrillers as well, but it was his Pink Panther movies which, for better or worse, defined his career in the eyes of the public. He had recently enjoyed a big hit with the second of those, A Shot in the Dark, so recruited the screenwriter of that, William Peter Blatty (now best known for The Exorcist), to take an idea about a war movie and whip it into shape. This was the result, inspired by that question many veterans of the Second World War would be familiar with, yet for some reason it was not as well regarded as many of Edwards' other comedies, no matter that it was a lavish production.

Well, there was one reason glaringly obvious to many of those who settled down with it: this just wasn't funny. Although the notion of enemy armies setting aside their differences to live it up then pull the wool over the eyes of their superiors wasn't bad at all, as it played here there just wasn't enough material to justify two hours of it. Not when there wasn't one decent laugh in the whole thing, in spite of a talented and willing cast and a team behind the camera who had proven their worth elsewhere. Sometimes the stars do not align even though they would appear to be heading in the right direction, and that the case with this, substituting frantic action for anything much resembling a series of jokes that would have lifted what grew to be a tedious experience.

Take Dick Shawn, a legendary nightclub comedian who more often than not found the confines of the screen a poor fit for his wild, eccentric comedy. The following year he was to be awarded by Mel Brooks with the only role that truly captured his distinct comic personality in The Producers, which saw him cast as a hip Hitler in the sure to be a flop stage musical centrepiece of the movie, but here he was stuck in a buttoned down role that restricted his potential. He did get to play a sequence in drag, but that was such a cliché that it was simply a tired attempt at getting a laugh, the sort of laziness that did Shawn no good, though he was simply acting the role as written. And then there was his co-star, James Coburn as Lieutenant Christian.

Christian was intended to sum up the increasing mood of counterculture anti-authoritarianism that the decade was breeding, but while you could see this as a precursor to war movies that would pick that up and run with it mere years later, efforts such as MASH, Kelly's Heroes and Catch 22 as the Vietnam War soured the mood of the nation, it was halfhearted in that direction at best. Maybe it was the Joseph Heller novel of Catch 22 that had brought about the artistic drive to make satire of armed conflict, it was still a must read around the time of this film, and both that and this were set in Italy during World War 2, but What Did You Do...? was strictly updated burlesque and far from any kind of acid wit mixed with healthy surrealism and humanity. Putting Harry Morgan in it as a Colonel who goes mad in the village catacombs was indicative of the problems: might have sounded funny, but the execution was lacking. Sergio Fantoni (as the Italian officer) and Giovanna Ralli (as the token female) brightened it a little, but ironically it was a losing battle. Music by Henry Mancini.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2063 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
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: