Oh, What a Lovely War
Audience Reviews for Oh! What a Lovely War. Nov 12, The Brechtian representational elements work better than you'd think and everyone, from major star cameos to character actors are 79%. WHAT A LOVELY WAR really isn't a movie at all, but a theatrical tableau. Like many a British muscial review, it contains little plot, much spirited music, and--in this case--the story of World War I. Some portions, as even director Richard Attenborough admitted, go on too long; however, so many other portions are just brilliant.
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Rate this movie. Oof, that was Rotten. Meh, it passed the time. So Fresh: Absolute Must See! You're almost there! Just confirm how you wuat your revuews. Cinemark Coming Soon. Regal Coming Soon. How to block a website on xp opting to have your ticket verified for this movie, you are allowing us to check how to build a mobi website email address associated with your Rotten Tomatoes account against an email address revviews with a Fandango ticket purchase for the same movie.
It is an elaborately staged tableau, a dazzling use of the camera to achieve how to light coals for hookah theatrical effects. And judged on that basis, Richard Attenborough has given us a breathtaking evening. Roger Ebert. The huge potential of this all-star vehicle was mainly squandered through a lack of subtlety or irony.
David Parkinson. Chris Petit. Vincent Canby. Dedicated, exhilarating, shrewd, mocking, funny, emotional, witty, poignant and technically brilliant. Variety Staff. It wears a heart so bleedingly on its sleeve one is almost blackmailed into praising it. Richard Whitehall. It may seem churlish to praise a film one admires not so much for what it gets right as for what it manages to avoid getting wrong. But Oh! What a Lovely War is perhaps a special case. Penelope Houston.
Adrian Turner. It's a mammoth shame that this film has slipped down the back of the sofa of movie history. This classic features some top names from movie history, including the late Laurence Olivier and British greats Maggie Smith and Ian Holm, and impressively staged music hall songs.
Mike Barnard. Richard Attenborough's directorial debut is a sprawling, highly stylized musical satire of WWI featuring some of Britain's very finest actors. An impressive debut from Richard Attenborough, made memorable by its all-star cast and incredible final shot. Film4 Staff. Top Box Office.
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How did you buy your ticket? View All Photos Movie Info. World War I gets the musical treatment in a series of a song-and-dance vignettes. Throughout it follows the Smith family -- stand-ins for the British working class -- who initially view the war with sunny optimism. Richard Attenborough. Brian DuffyRichard Attenborough. Mar 11, Accord Productions. Ralph Whwt Sir Edward Grey. John Clements Gen. Ian Holm President Poincare.
Meriel Forbes Lady Grey. Wensley Pithey Archduke Lkvely Ferdinand. Ruth Kettlewell Duchess Sophie. Richard Attenborough Director. Brian Duffy Producer. Richard Attenborough Producer. Charles Chilton Writer Play. Len Deighton Writer Screenplay.
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It's a mistake to review "Oh! What a Lovely War" as a movie. It isn't one, but it is an elaborately staged tableau, a dazzling use of the camera to achieve essentially theatrical effects. And judged on that basis, Richard Attenborough has given us a breathtaking evening. Apr 29, · Oh! What a Lovely War Review and Song List I'm usually not a fan of musicals, or of the surrealistic pop-culture of the late s as it was applied to the portrayal of historic events. I am an avid World War I buff/historian, as well as a fan of Richard Attenborough, and I had waited, somewhat skeptically, to see his directorial debut, Oh!/5. Aug 22, · out of 5 stars 60's avant-garde musical revue mangling the Great War. Reviewed in the United States on December 25, This film (that started as a radio play) takes a bought as long as the war and mangles the history and substitutes words (one respirator for the four of us) for standard songs.4/5.
Sign In. What a Lovely War User Reviews Spoilers Hide Spoilers. AmyLouise 12 April It is a mystery to me why this film isn't on everybody's top ten films listing. It is truly a masterpiece of acting and direction, and without doubt the best anti-war film I have ever seen.
Yet it was never released on video, and it took over 20 years of waiting to see it repeated on television and tape it for my collection.
It is all the more telling for its simplicity - none of the many great actors taking part delivers a weighty pronouncement on the evils - or otherwise - of war; it is enough to see the awful toll posted on the cricket scoreboard that keeps the daily tally of dead. The ordinariness of the Smith family, who lose every last one of their young men to the conflict, the cheerful patriotism of the proud families waving their loved ones off to war, and the stupid banalities of the officers who daily send their men out to be killed only serve to highlight the absolute futility and waste of WWI and all the wars that followed.
Scenes of upper class twits at play while their servants are dying to preserve their privileges; the officers' ball where military leaders try to score points off each other, concerned only with protocol and promotion; and the brilliant black humor of the outdoor church service are juxtaposed with scenes from the trenches as we watch the young men die one by one, all the more harrowing for their cheeky humor and fatalism.
Why this brilliant film has been allowed to sink without trace is baffling; I first saw it in the early seventies, and today it still has the same impact. And sadly, it is just as relevant now as it was then - a testimony to our inability to learn from our mistakes.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote. Richard Attenborough's directorial debut translates Joan Plowright's theatre concept onto celluloid. Made in , the film rides the wave of contemporary 'make love not war' sentiment, and uses humour and avant-garde zaniness to avoid seeming portentous.
The opening sequence, set in a wrought-iron Nowhere, tries to explain the diplomatic chicanery which allegedly caused the Great War. This passage is dull, unnatural, garbled and much too long. It does not harmonise with the rest of the story, and the film would have been better without it.
Of the cavalcade of ageing English thespians which populates this sequence, only Jack Hawkins as the profoundly melancholic Austrian emperor is at all memorable. When the casulaties start to mount, a shocked theatre audience is rallied by a rousing rendition of "Are We Downhearted? The government's cynical drive to recruit a volunteer army by 'milking' the simple patriotism of the people is superbly satirised in the 'Roedean' section.
Class divisions are emphasised. Wounded men from the lower ranks have to wait for treatment, but officers have taxis laid on to take them to hospital. The War forces an aristocrat to converse with one of his retainers, but the conversation is hollow and awkward, as if the men speak different languages. The working-class men in the trenches fraternise with their German 'brothers', and a staff officer in the comfort and safety of England punishes them for their inappropriate behaviour.
The pacifist who addresses the workers falls foul of their instinctive patriotism, and doesn't help herself by referring to her audience as "You misguided masses". The film has many delicious ironic touches. A wounded man arrives back in England, relieved to be out of the hell of war, and is told by a nurse, "Don't worry - we'll soon have you back at the Front". Upper-class war dodgers carry on as before, but they think they are making noble sacrifices - "I'm not using my German wine - not while the War's on".
The staff officer who visits the Front is patently unfamiliar with life there, and desperate to get away, but happy enough to have the men live and die in these conditions. By , the optimism has died. The parade of wounded men is a sea of grim, hopeless faces.
Black humour has now replaced the enthusiasm of the early days. Poppies provide the only colour. We see English soldiers drinking in an estaminet. The chanteuse Pia Colombo leads them in a jolly chorus of "The Moon Shines Bright On Charlie Chaplin", a reworking of an American song, then shifts the mood dramatically by singing "Adieu la vie", a truly great tragic song.
The Australian troops have an easy, informal approach to discipline. They make fun of the 'proper' English reserves who are replacing them on the battlefield, and the contrast between the two cultures is depicted by the stiffness of the English drill compared with the sprawling comfort of the Aussies.
Naturally enough, the Australians deride the staff officers who arrive to inspect the reserves. Another passage in the film which simply doesn't work is the religious service in the ruined abbey. Its purpose is to point out the hypocrisy of the great religions, which all came out in favour of the War, but the scene drags horribly and slackens the film's otherwise brisk pace. The trench scenes are terrific, powerfully evoking the squalour of the Front.
The wounded are laid out in ranks at the field station, a mockery of the healthy rows of young men who entered the War. Harry Smith's silently-suffering face is one of the film's great images.
The War is drawing to its close, but still the ironies are piling up. The Americans arrive, singing in travesty of Cohan "And we won't come back - we'll be buried over there! As the Armistice is sounding, Freddy is the last one to die. The film closes with a truly stunning aerial view of soldiers' graves, dizzying in their geometry and scale, as the voices of the dead sing, "We'll Never Tell Them".
It brought a tear to this reviewer's eye. I first saw this movie in the theater in In my opinion it was by far the most powerful anti-war movie I had ever seen.
I can not think of another movie which makes use of the media so effectively. For instance, the party atmosphere of the boardwalk where we see a toy merry-go-round with puppets which blends into a real merry-go-round with real soldiers and real women which blends into real soldiers in a real battle.
And the scene where the "upper class" lady is enticing men to join the army morphs into a whore soliciting anybody she can drag onstage. Then the camera moves to the men gathered backstage and the backdrop of the curtains in the theatre becomes the canvas cover of the truck carrying the men to the battlefront. Death is symbolized by poppies.
The surrealistic atmosphere allows the characters to pass by poppies, or be handed a poppy rather than being shot or dying from mustard gas. The final scene with the women and children having a picnic in a beautiful field requires the scope of the "big screen.
We see a cross and some poppies and then we see more poppies and more crosses until all we can see are the crosses and poppies of Flanders Field and we are no longer able to distinguish the people having the picnic. This is a film for those who enjoy surrealism and satire. It is a must for anyone studying anti-war films. And as an added treat, it has in it practically everybody who was anybody in British theatre at the time it was made.
Warning: Spoilers. I dragged friends to Piccadilly Circus over and over again and each one emerged from the theater as shaken as I. Here is a scathing burlesque of the idiocy of war set in WWI and driven by to tunes of the time, each one seemingly innocuous, but loaded with irony and acid just below the surface. The film is in brilliant color, but the audience is always made aware of the blackness of death hovering above it.
From early on with Maggi Smith coercing the boys to "take the shilling" and join up, to the shattering last scene where the camera pulls back to show row upon row of crosses, this is a genuine masterpiece. Now on DVD with additional features including comments from all the major players.
An all time favorite film because of the satire and today its nothing new same old thing. Each War seems to be worse than the last-lessons are never learned. Its the rich versus the poor-the officers who only got their commissions because they were born privileged. The film is obviously Anti War and wastes no opportunity to make pointed comments at the Masters of War.
The cavalier attitude to Death is emphasised when one leader reads out the figures of "Casualties privates and officers killed yesterday. So many of us in the United States are clueless about the significance of the red poppy which recurs so often in the movie. First of all, it is not an opium poppy. It is a symbol for peace.
John McCrae, one of the great poets who were killed in World War I, wrote in the following in his anti-war poem "In Flanders Fields": In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row by row,. If yea break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields Anyway, shortly after WWI, in the early nineteen-twenties, the red poppy became the symbol of remembering and honoring the heroic dead.
The day for remembrance became November 11, the date World War One ended. It rarely even falls on November 11, and, when it does, most Americans view it simply as time off work. As critic Roger Ebert once said, OH! Like many a British muscial review, it contains little plot, much spirited music, and--in this case--the story of World War I.
Some portions, as even director Richard Attenborough admitted, go on too long; however, so many other portions are just brilliant. Like other Attenborough movies, one hates to dislike it because its subject matter is so worthwhile and commands respect will anyone do a remembrance film honoring the fallen dead of the present Iraqui conflict?
I know I gave it an 8, but I must say I don't quite know how to rate a movie like this one. There's nothing else in cinema like it. It's been thirty-five years since I first saw this movie. I remember it as well as any movie I've seen. I check every few months to see if it is available in any format. So far I haven't found it. It would be good if someone could be influenced to create a DVD version.
I'd buy it in a minute. I'd probably buy several copies and give them to special friends. It may be my favorite movie of all time. It's music that now brings a tear whenever I hear it. The portrayal of pompous generals and their subservient minions, as they are posting the numbers of deaths and casualties for the day, is beautifully done.
They were simply putting up numbers. But each number was often a death.