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Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

 -  Musical | War  -  3 October 1969 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,711 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 20 critic

A movie about the First World War based on a stage musical of the same name, portraying the "Game of War" and focusing mainly on the members of one family (last name Smith) who go off to ... See full summary »

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(play), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wendy Allnutt ...
Flo Smith
Colin Farrell ...
Harry Smith
Malcolm McFee ...
Freddie Smith
John Rae ...
Grandpa Smith
...
Bertie Smith
...
George Smith
Paul Shelley ...
Jack Smith
Kim Smith ...
Dickie Smith
Angela Thorne ...
Betty Smith
Mary Wimbush ...
Mary Smith
Vincent Ball ...
Australian Soldier
Pia Colombo ...
Estaminet Singer
Paul Daneman ...
Isabel Dean ...
Sir John French's Lady
Christian Doermer ...
Fritz
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Storyline

A movie about the First World War based on a stage musical of the same name, portraying the "Game of War" and focusing mainly on the members of one family (last name Smith) who go off to war. Much of the action in the movie revolves around the words of the marching songs of the soldiers, and many scenes portray some of the more famous (and infamous) incidents of the war, including the assassination of Duke Ferdinand, the Christmas meeting between British and German soldiers in no-mans-land, and the wiping out by their own side of a force of Irish soldiers newly arrived at the front, after successfully capturing a ridge that had been contested for some time. Written by Sonya Roberts <sonya_roberts@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The ever popular war game with songs battles & a few jokes See more »

Genres:

Musical | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 October 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aftos o yperohos polemos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song "La Chanson de Craonne" ("Adieu la Vie"), sung by Pia Sablon in the film, commemorates a mutiny in 1917 by French troops. Merely singing it was considered an act of mutiny, and it was banned in France until 1974. During the war, a reward of one million francs and immediate honourable release from the Army was offered for the identity of the author, but never claimed. See more »

Goofs

This occurs during the song "Bombed Last Night" in the trench that had just underwent a gassing disaster. When the Sergeant is doing his little dance, he is just turning clockwise on 'no more of us'. However, in the next frame, he is suddenly facing the absolute opposite way with no time in between shots for him to have turned around that quickly. See more »

Quotes

Soldier Singer: It was Christmas Day in the cookhouse, the happiest time of the year, Men's hearts were full of gladness and their bellies full of beer, When up popped Private Shorthouse, his face as bold as brass, He said We don't want your Christmas pudding, you can stick it up your tidings of co-omfort and joy, comfort and joy, o-oh ti-idings of co-omfort and joy. It was Christmas Day in the harem, the eunuchs were standing 'round, And hundreds of beautiful women were stretched out on the ground, Along came...
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Gassed Last Night
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Charles Chilton
Performed by chorus (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Masterpiece
12 April 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

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.


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