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Frankie Howerd stars in this comedy as a lowly boot-boy who is a terrible coward. He only goes to war in 1914 after he has been hypnotised to 'save England'. With the German master plan tattooed on his backside (this is the only way he could get the plan back to the British), he goes to the British headquarters, with the Germans in hot pursuit, to try and 'hand over the plans'!!! Written by
Graeme Huggan <email@example.com>
Forgettable conclusion to the Frankie Howerd trilogy
Well, we had UP POMPEII - a Roman comedy based on his popular television series, and its sequel UP THE CHASTITY BELT (which updated the format to the Middle Ages), so now comes UP THE FRONT, featuring the same kind of shenanigans except this time taking place during WW1.
I was in two minds about this film before watching it, purely because I wasn't sure how a comedy set during one of the most tragic wars in history would play out. I needn't have worried; UP THE FRONT is as trivial and frivolous as ever, a series of lame gags just about held together by Howerd's front man.
I like Howerd, but this material is definitely beneath him. When a running gang about a goat is the highlight of your movie, you know you're in trouble. He blusters and shams his way through a series of painful, originality-free gags while a series of supporting actors (Bill Fraser, Dora Bryan, Lance Percival and Stanley Holloway) mug shamelessly. Even Zsa Zsa Gabor shows up (playing Mata Hari!) along with a youthful Bob Hoskins in his first film outing.
The paucity of both budget and imagination is evident in the uselessness of the script, which involves a secret map tattooed on Howerd's behind (interestingly, the idea was later borrowed for the spaghetti western, THE STRANGER AND THE GUNFIGHTER). At the end of the day, this is a comedy with unfunny jokes, so it's not really worth sitting through.
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