How I Won the War
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Symbolism abounds in the film, and in alternating instances, its overtness and its subtlety can prove confusing. For this reason, the film needs to be viewed more than once.
The blatant attack on the military mindset is brilliantly executed. In swift strokes he makes a mockery of military officers and warmongers; one scene in particular has two British officers exchanging bubble gum cards of war scenes, with one insisting in a haughty accent "I want school bombing ... I do."
Michael Crawford and John Lennon are joined by an excellent supporting cast, including Victor Spinetti the brilliant (but unfortunately "late") Leo McKern. Crawford plays the role with just the right amount of smarminess, egoism and overt stupidity that it calls for. Lennon and McKern's innocence causes the closing segment to be doubly powerful.
Overall ... a fine film worth seeing, especially for any fans of social commentary.
Not having read the book on which the darkly comic film was based, I will note that the film stands on its own as a notable feature of the British anti-war film genre, during which an artistic community depict the very war which imperiled them during their earliest years of life as a device to express their objection to U.S. involvment in Vietnam.Inevitably the war depicted in the film, and the time of its release play key factors in the significance of this film, and given that the same destruction of life, families, and property take place in all wars, the film still has much relavance now.
In flashbacks, fantasy sequences, actual footage of World War II campaigns, and via Goodbody's stint in a German P.O.W. camp where he converses with the German officer, Odlebog(Karl Michael Vogler), we learn of his ordeal, and that of the ill-fated unit serving under him, including Gripweed(Beatle John Lennon, who though in reality going against military regulations, manages to keep a bit of his trademark shag hairdo), Clapper(Roy Kinnear)who worries about his wife's (Fanny Carby) infidelity, Juniper(Jack MacGowran), Transom (Lee Montague), and the non-compliant Melancholy Musketeer(Jack Hedley).
The objective of this unit --the 3rd Troop, the 4th Musketeers of a fictional regiment, is to set up an "Advanced Area Cricket Pitch" behind enemy lines in Tunisia. In fact, we catch our first glimpse of most of the principals on a lovely English cricket field before they go into uniform.
Goodbody is under the command of officer Grapple (Michael Hordern).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I never get tired of watching this movie, this is my 3rd copy, first DVD.Published 28 days ago by Go Mariners 3
I've been looking for this movie for years and it was a great satisfaction to see this release on blu ray. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Marcos from Brazil
If you expect John Lennon to sing or even recite a poem you will be very disappointed. You will also wonder how the British ever found the battle fronts during WW II which is an... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Pmc
Wonderful to see this film again. Richard Lester is one of my favorite directors.Published 5 months ago by Patrick Fisher
I saw a film today, oh boy.
The English army had just won the war.
A crowd of people turned away.
This was a terrible disappointment. It's very poorly scripted.Published 5 months ago by West Critic