A movie about World War I based on a stage musical of the same name, portraying the "Game of War", and focusing mainly on the members of the Smith family 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 Archduke Ferdinand, the Christmas meeting between British and German soldiers in no-man's-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
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The song "La Chanson de Craonne" ("Adieu la Vie"), sung by Pia Colombo (Estaminet Singer) in this movie, 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 honorable release from the Army was offered for the identity of the author, but never claimed. See more »
The bayonets of the Band of the Irish Guards as they parade down the Brighton promenade appear to be for the L1A1 self loading rifle, first issued 1957 and still issued as standard by the time of the film, rather than the correct 1907 pattern bayonet for the Lee-Enfield No1 mkIII rifle (characterised by its longer blade length of 17" as opposed to the 8" of the L1A1's bayonet). See more »
Opening credits prologue: The principal statements made by the historical characters in this film are based on documentary evidence and the words of the songs are those sung by the troops during the First World War See more »
I first saw this film when it came out. I was 10 years old, the Viet Nam war was still going on, and it blew me away completely.
I saw it again 5 years later, in a revival house. I went with a high-school friend, happy to be able to introduce its power and brilliance to someone new. It blew her away completely.
That was 27 years ago, and I would give almost anything to know if the film could still move me as much as it did those first two times. It is not available on video, and I've never seen it broadcast on any TV channel.
This is truly one of those films that burned itself into my memory at first viewing. I urge anyone who finds the chance to see it to run, not walk, to the theatre! The Great War -- the War to End All Wars -- has faded deep into the past for most people, and we forget that the death-toll from that conflict blighted an entire generation. This film makes that loss all too vivid, using the music of the war itself.
Truly a classic, in the most literal sense of the word: a film for the ages.
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