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Lee J. Cobb
At the outbreak of WWII the British realise they can't prevent the invasion of the Channel Islands. However, someone realises that a prize cow is on the islands and the Nazis mustn't get hold of her. This is the intrepid story of the cow-napping from under the noses of the Nazis. Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
The Venus of this film's title refers not to a Roman God from Latin mythology nor to a planet but to a prize pedigree cow which is sought by the British military during World War II because of its excellent breeding, and they don't want the Nazis to get her. See more »
A strange post-war war film that is too bland to be a comedy and too dull to be a thriller
With little way of defending it and few valuable resources to protect, the UK allows the German army to invade Channel Islands while the residents decide on a peaceful acceptance including non-violence resistance. However the Ministry of Agriculture is quick to point out that this means the Germans will have possession of one of Britain's finest cows, Venus, who also happens to pregnant with a calf. With the issue raised, the War Office dispatches Major Valentine Moreland to liberate the cow and return her to the safety and honest green grass of British-held territory.
Despite the fairly ordinary sounding title, this film has a premise that makes it sound like it can only be a funny little comedy that has plenty of light British wit. However the film is nothing of the sort and, while being a bit of a flop, it is also a rather strange beast that can't seem to settle into any one thing comfortably. After a bit of a comic tone that seems to be putting the tongue in the cheek we then suddenly get serious with more of a dramatic approach. The drama is never thrilling and it is all a bit silly and thus prevented me really getting into it daring do in war movies is all well and good but much more important things really happened than this fictional case. Now I'm not sure about the true history regarding the Channel Islands but it might be a touchy issue over how little resistance was given up hence we have the film making very deliberate points about how dignified and upright the residents are. Strangely the film also takes care to avoid painting all Germans as evil and the commander is quite a decent farmer maybe not that surprising considering it was made in the 50's but still strange to see in an old war movie.
Niven is not that well known for this film and it is easy to see why as he does appear to be freewheeling in it. His presence is always appreciated but it is hard to watch this and not think of many stronger war films where he worked much better. Likewise Kenneth Moore is a strange find and he has very little to do. Johns is dull, Coulouris is far too careful and upright and the rest of the support cast just kind of do the basics without any feeling Purcell being the only one to really add colour in an easy role.
Overall this is a mixed film that doesn't really do anything well as it isn't funny, dramatic, involving, interesting or exciting. The story will mean it sticks in my mind but other than that there is nothing special or memorable here.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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