London, 1940. Aspiring jazz musician and future comedy legend Terence "Spike" Milligan reluctantly obeys his call-up and joins the Royal Artillery regiment at Bexhill, where he begins ...
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The British National Health System is skewered in this comedy set in a rundown London hospital. The hospital is filled with wacky staff members and patients, and the film strives to get all... See full summary »
This sprawling, surrealist musical serves as an allegory for the pitfalls of capitalism, as it follows the adventures of a young coffee salesman in Europe. Many actors play multiple roles, giving the film a stagy tone.
Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines. However, mismanagement and poor planning result in its failure.
London, 1940. Aspiring jazz musician and future comedy legend Terence "Spike" Milligan reluctantly obeys his call-up and joins the Royal Artillery regiment at Bexhill, where he begins training to take part in the War. But along the way Spike and his friends get involved in many amusing - and some not-so amusing - scrapes. Based on the first volume of Milligan's war memoirs. Written by
Spike Milligan was 21 when called up to serve in WW2, however Jim Dale was 38 when he portrayed Milligan in the film. See more »
The red and blue teams are driving Willys MB Jeeps in 1940. The Willys MB was not manufactured until 1941 and was not used by the British Army until 1942. See more »
[Having spent all night on sentry duty, Spike hears footsteps]
Halt! Who goes there?
[In a broad Yorkshire accent]
Adolf Bloody 'itler!
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First of all I am biased as the autobiographical novel on which this film is based is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of Milligan's career and the funniest thing I have ever read.
The film has a strong cast (but see below), but the script and direction are weak. It's as though they had no idea how to approach the material. Most of the time it's played as a "Carry On" style farce: then we get crude and jarring interludes of fashionable anti-war propaganda. The two styles just do not mesh or integrate.
As for the actors, they do their best, but the "recruits" are all too obviously in their mid-to-late-thirties, rather than the 18-22 year olds they are supposed to be. This problem makes their attempts at silliness and slapstick rather embarrassing, and the coming-of-age theme seems misplaced and irrelevant. Arthur Lowe is excellent as always, but could have been given much more to do. Jim Dale is just too cuddly to capture the central character, and has to resort to pulling faces and speaking in silly voices to compensate.
The one highlight comes very early, with Spike playing his own father- it's downhill from there.
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