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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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 (I) was 38 when he portrayed Milligan in this 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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Occasionally touches Milligan's humour but mostly just amusing
Young musician Spike Milligan is playing a gig when WW2 is announced. Spike is drafted into army and goes about training prior to joining action. On the way he and his squad experience plenty of amusing antics but also see the futility and losses of wartime. Based on the first volume of Spike's wartime memoirs.
Spike Milligan was the last goon to go and his unique sense of humour will be greatly missed, although it does live on in many of today's comedians. This is a film version of his memoirs of his time in the second world war. The plot sticks close to the book, focusing on the training rather than later in the war. However the film can't completely bring out the absolute madness inherent in Spike's writing. The film does occasionally have touches of him but mostly this feels a little like a carry on film without the smut.
The comments on the futility of war are OK but they feel like they're heavily thrown into the mix and don't sit well alongside the comedy. MASH did better than this later. This film is more like something between a Carry On film and MASH. It neither manages to do the satire well nor do the laughs as well as you'd hope. It does average with both but never feels comfortable with either.
The characters are quite well drawn. Dale does well as Spike and manages to do a good job without doing an impression but Spike himself is given little to do as his own father. The support cast are all good but don't manage to shine as much as one would have hoped. Maynard, Lowe, Davis and Hughes are all nice surprises but all the best stuff is kept for Dale to use.
Overall Spike fans will feel a little let down by the losses made in transition from page to screen. The comedy aspires to be Milliganesque but only occasionally does his hand shine through. The end result is still entertaining but never as funny as it should be. I suggest you all read the book rather than watching this. RIP Spike happily your legacy is with us everyday and not just in this film.
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