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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The most original short film I've ever seen!

Author: KMPINTJ from North Carolina
11 August 2002

I saw this delightful piece at a film festival and rated it my favorite of all of the (many, many) shorts I saw there! While the blurb I originally read about it did not sound interesting, it is an absolute delight, and so original! The "Silent Movie" style used with a gay love story in WW I is so unique--a sweet, funny gem!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A work of love

Author: Javi from Australia
18 February 2002

We saw this short film (30 minutes long) at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras film festival. It's all very Chaplin-esque and the star (who also directed) is terrific. The gay plot doesn't kick in for a while and perhaps the movie is a tad long for a short, but it looks so sumptious on the screen and the obvious love that the director/actor had for making this film is very obvious. Although it was nice to see Abraham Benrubi (from 'ER') in it, I believe that cutting some of his scenes would have made this film a bit crisper. I'm really looking forward to what else this very talented film-maker is going to come up with next.

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An overlooked silent gem, made ten years before "The Artist".

Author: David Atfield ( from Canberra, Australia
11 March 2012

"War Story" (2001), like "The Artist" (2011), is a beautifully realised homage to silent cinema - this time the silent comedy one-reelers of people like Charles Chaplin. John Baumgartner does a truly amazing job in writing, directing, producing and starring in the film, creating a charming on-screen character, and some beautifully timed slapstick routines. Like Chaplin, Baumgartner also adds some serious themes, and pathos, to the comedy, because, somewhat surprisingly, the film centres on a romance between two men, one a soldier, the other a waiter, in 1918.The romance is so sweet, that it makes the often violent reactions of the other characters to it, seem absurd. This is an absolute gem and I am surprised at its lack of profile - I hope this is not because of the gay themes, but I suspect it is. "War Story" is, in its way, as fine a work as "The Artist", and well worth seeking out.

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Love in the silent age!

Author: Yngvar Myrvold from Tonsberg, Norway
27 June 2002

Imagine Charlie Chaplin making a sweet and charming gay love story in his best silent-comedy style, and you have War Story.

Ronnie, a strapping, good-looking soldier going off to WW1 takes the place of Edna Purviance, and the tramp-character is here played by Metly Morville, a wide-eyed fellow in a bowler-hat working as a waiter. Ronnie and Metly fall in love, yet there are problems....

War story could be written off as brilliant pastiche, of course. The stock characters are all here: The fat man with the huge moustache, the silly old dame, the lovely young thing, the sneaky thief. The pratfalls, the fisticuffs, the captions, - all here! The interior of the restaurant looks exactly like a set at Mack Sennett-studios in 1915.

And yet: There is a scene of two men being beaten up and thrown out of the restaurant for being "pansies". That, of course, is the way gays were treated back then. So there is a darker message of ignorance and intolerance being addressed here. And, of course, you would never see two men fall in love like this in the silents. Unthinkable.

Overall, I give this film a 10/10, if only for the sheer audacity and novelty of it. I hope Baumgartner will return to this simple way of making films. His audience will love him for it.

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Excellent silent short gay love story in a Charlie Chaplin style

Author: Ben Morris from Scotland
22 October 2001

I can't recommend this enough.

John Baumgartner stars as the fictitious Metly Moorville, apparently a famous 1920s silent film star, who happens to be gay. This film takes the recognised imagery of silent romantic movies and twists it to make it boy meets boy instead of boy meets girl.

Even the most homophobic person will be charmed by this film and hopefully it will lead to a long-running series of Metly Moorville shorts.

It's also very funny.

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Author: David Sebastian Kestrel
20 October 2001

i had the distinct pleasure to catch "war story" at the pittsburgh international lesbian & gay film festival, and it was the highlight of the night. the film is a splendid homage to the world of silent cinema, and a touching queer story in its own right. its wonderfully reconstructed silent film slapstick elicits more than a few hearty laughs, while at the same time maintaining the atmosphere of silent cinema's bygone days. metly moorville, the film's fictional hero, is akin to a queer little tramp, and his performance by director john baumgartner made me wish for a scad of sequels. it was also quite amusing to see abraham benrubi, best known as "kubiak" from "parker lewis can't lose" and his work on e.r., with extravagantly villainous facial hair -- mustachio, beard and especially eyebrows.

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Sweet love story in the style of silent films

Author: cessna1505 from Alexandria VA
19 October 2001

This film was screened at the 2001 DC Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. It's a sweet love story of two men who fall for each other, only to be separated by World War I, done in the style of the silent films of the era. The film beautifully captures the innocence of the films of the time, and the technique is nearly flawless. Although a bit long, it makes a lovely counterpoint to the gritty realism of so many gay short films today. The acting is broad and comic, not at all believable in today's terms, but just right for a film made in 1918. Highly enjoyable.

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su-really wonderful

Author: Marci Thiery (luvwahoo) from Lorain, Ohio
26 January 2001

I had the privilege of seeing this movie in a private showing. It is brilliantly written and acted in a Charlie Chaplin-esque manner. It is so sweet and funny. It made me laugh. It made me cry, (but in a good way!) Without a word, the actors make you feel every emotion so fully, that you never want it to end. Bravo, to all involved!

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