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Up the Front (1972)

Unrated | | Comedy | 14 July 1972 (UK)
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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Bob Kellett

Writers:

Sid Colin (screenplay), Eddie Braben (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frankie Howerd ... Lurk
Bill Fraser Bill Fraser ... Groping
William Mervyn William Mervyn ... Lord Twithampton
Linda Gray Linda Gray ... Lady Twithampton
Jonathan Cecil ... Nigel / Nigel Phipps Fortescue
Madeline Smith ... Fanny
Nicholas Bennett Nicholas Bennett ... Mallett
Mike Grady ... Newsboy
Dora Bryan ... Cora Crumpington
Stanley Holloway ... The Great Vincento / Vincento
Veronica Clifford Veronica Clifford ... Velma
Peter Greenwell Peter Greenwell ... Pianist / Accordianiste / Leader Of The Orchestra
Barrie Gosney ... Stage Manager
Bob Hoskins ... Recruiting Sgt.
Lance Percival Lance Percival ... Von Gutz
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Storyline

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 <hia95gh@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All Laughs! See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 July 1972 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Kommandosache 'Nackter Po' See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Anglo-EMI See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bob Hoskins: As a Recruiting Sergeant. See more »

Goofs

When the sign at Monique's is splattered by mud the N is only partially covered, but in the next shot the N is completely covered. See more »

Quotes

Vincento: [drunkenly] I will take your breath away.
Lurk: [recoiling] I wish you'd take yours away!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the film the cast credits are listed as 'cast in order of cowardice'. See more »

Connections

Follows Up Pompeii (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Orpheus in the Underworld
(uncredited)
Music by Jacques Offenbach
Arranged by Peter Greenwell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Frankie Howerd vehicle runs out of gas...
18 January 2005 | by LibretioSee all my reviews

UP THE FRONT

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Sound format: Mono

During a series of unlikely misadventures, a First World War army recruit (Frankie Howerd) ends up with vital military information tattooed on his backside, and he struggles through enemy territory in a desperate attempt to reach the British forces.

The third and least effective of the theatrical features inspired by TV's "Up Pompeii!" (1969-70), starring camp British comic Howerd, whose penchant for gossipy asides to camera was well-served by the first two films (UP POMPEII and UP THE CHASTITY BELT, both produced in 1971). However, whereas "...Pompeii" and "...Chastity Belt" loaned themselves to Howerd's brand of comedy by virtue of their colorful locations (ancient Rome and Medieval England, respectively), UP THE FRONT is scuttled by its resolutely unsexy wartime setting, which sits uneasily alongside the 'Carry On'-style bawdiness of Howerd's trademark humor. As a consequence, despite the star's best efforts (and a screenplay co-written by Eddie Braben, the celebrated scriptwriter for Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, arguably the finest comedy double act in UK TV history), the movie falls decidedly flat. Bob Kellett directs with the same faceless efficiency that distinguished the first two movies, and Howerd is ably supported by guest stars Hermione Baddeley, Stanley Holloway and Zsa Zsa Gabor (as Mata Hari!), sharing screen space alongside Bill Fraser, Lance Percival, Madeline Smith, Peter Bull, Vernon Dobtcheff and many other familiar faces. Co-star Dora Bryan sings the jolly theme song, and there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo from young Bob Hoskins! Despite the movie's many failings, Howerd makes the most of some riotous double entendres (his scene with Gabor is a delight, reworked from a similar routine in one of the best TV episodes of "Up Pompeii!"), and the pace remains busy throughout. The real star of the show, however, is art director Seamus Flannery (REPULSION, THE WICKER MAN, FLY AWAY HOME), who works miracles on a microscopic budget, from the vivid colors of Gabor's boudoir to the war-ravaged landscape of No Man's Land and the main square of an occupied French village. If nothing else, the movie is a visual treat!

Unlike its predecessors, the movie wasn't a popular success, and Howerd - who favored stage work over any other medium - made only sporadic film appearances from this point onward, most notably THE HOUSE IN NIGHTMARE PARK (1973), an odd blend of comedy and horror, and SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (1978). At the time of his death in 1992, he was slated to appear in the unhappy CARRY ON COLUMBUS, which opened later the same year.


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