When World War Two breaks out, the small seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea finds itself less than ably defended by the elderly and inept members of Captain Mainwaring's home guard unit. Put on manoeuvres by a visiting Major-General, Mainwaring's men manage to bungle one task after another. However, when a group of Germans from a scout plane take the Mayor hostage at the church hall, the clueless soldiers might still have a chance of saving the day!Written by
The film charts the formation of the Local Defence Volunteers, beginning on Tuesday May 14th 1940 (as can be observed when Pike alters the Martins Bank calendar, and with British Secretary of State for War Anthony Eden's BBC radio announcement) and journeys through Operation Dynamo (the Dunkirk evacuations over May 26th to June 4th) and Churchill's renaming of the LDV to the Home Guard (Tuesday July 23rd), also taking in Germany's Operation Sealion plan (the abortive invasion of the United Kingdom). The film closes six months after the start as the platoon returns from Army camp in November. See more »
When Mainwaring lines up the shotgun shells at the street barricade, the close-up reveals that the primers are all indented indicating the shells have already been fired. See more »
The second in director Cohen's trilogy of Second World War comedies (the others being Till Death Do Us Part' and `Adolf Hitler - My Part In His Downfall') is a film version of the BBC's long running (and much loved) situation comedy. Like most transfers of television shows, this movie suffers from an absence of plot and is more a collection of sketches. Some of which work better than others for example the scene where a high ranking army officer floats down a river is a memorable, surreal moment.
The joy of this movie is it's representation of a past that probably never existed and an England which is defined by picturesque countryside and the chance it offers to see veteran scene-stealers such as John Le Mesurier given their biggest film roles. Arthur Lowe is superb as Captain Mainwaring, a bungler, who, when the chips are down, displays great courage and saves the day (the climax is probably the character's greatest moment).
Episodes of the television series are of course funnier but as an introduction to a British legend, you cannot find anything better.
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