Wie ich den Krieg gewann (1967)

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Wie ich den Krieg gewann: Directed by Richard Lester. With Michael Crawford, John Lennon, Roy Kinnear, Lee Montague. An inept British World War II commander leads his troops through a series of misadventures in North Africa and Europe.

“There is a reason for the old theatrical axiom that satire is what closes on Saturday night: satire by itself is just not very entertaining. It has to be funny, too. The target here is war, and just how silly men get when caught up in the middle of it, and this is pretty obvious by the five minute mark of the movie. The production looks very good, recreating the appearance of WWIIu0026#39;s North African Theater quite well, but the key weakness is the central story conceit: that a unit of the British Army would be sent into a hellishly dangerous area to set up a cricket pitch. The idea must have had some appeal on paper to somebody, since the movie got the go-ahead, but unless it had actually been based on a true incident or something, the idea is just too obvious and far a reach to build a movie around, and the occasional shots at army tradition and military thinking (thereu0026#39;s an oxymoron) just arenu0026#39;t funny enough to keep things interesting while the absurd story plays out. Michael Crawford, a brilliant comedian in other material such as Some Mothers Do u0026#39;Ave u0026#39;Em, tries hard to keep an edge to his work, but the material for the large part just isnu0026#39;t there. John Lennon, for all that he is second billed, doesnu0026#39;t have much of a character or much screen time. He just pops up occasionally as a kind of PFC Greek Chorus to comment on the goings on. This would seem a good use of the eccentric and sardonic Lennon, but once again the problem is that he is simply not given much to work with. Richard Lester can be a funny and creative director, but here he isnu0026#39;t and as co-writer of the thing he should have realized that the material was lacking. He didnu0026#39;t. Not a terrible movie, but definitely lower echelon stuff. Catch-22 is a better and more ambitious movie, and so is Oh What a Lovely War.”


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