This odd, very moving anti-war satire and musical is all the stranger for its star-laden cast, which includes some all-time greats: Laurence Olivier, John Mills, Maggie Smith and a brace of Redgraves. It was also Richard Attenborough's directorial debut.
Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop play on the excesses and follies of war got misplaced in transition, and producer Len Deighton ended up removing his name from the credits. It remains an often too-clever, sometimes moving piece which never effectively reconciles its lampooning of the WWI General Staff (Haig playing leapfrog; conducting battles from a helter-skelter; losses reflected on cricket scoreboards) with its sincerity towards the salt-of-the-earth working class who were the ones who copped it. Lots of contemporary songs, scores of well-known faces.
Theatrical Release: March 10th, 1969
DVD Review: Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC
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|Distribution||Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 5.3 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
by director Attenborough
Nice, tight image from Paramount on this stacked DVD. Strong detail, muted but accurate colors, progressive and anamorphic in the impressive 2.35 ratio. Excellent contrast and I noted no manipulations although moiring may be a small issue on some systems.
The Attenborough commentary is a good one. He talks at quite a slow pace but covers a massive amount of minute production detail. He seems to recall much of the development of his debut film. I thought the 3-part documentary was as equally as entertaining as the film. It ends up being about 75 minutes and has input from Attenborough and some of the cast on the films reaction, interpretation and intent. Good for gaining an appreciation for the film's proposed messages.
The film, a thoroughly enjoyable 'odd duck', with a typical quasi-political artistic stance on the follies of war. Highly entertaining and, at times, touching.