Oh! What a Lovely War

Overview

Oh! What a Lovely War is an every-man-for-himself adaptation of Charles Chilton's 1963 play, as staged in London by Joan Littlewood. The tragedy of World War I is redefined in bawdy music-hall terms, beginning with a verbal free-for-all involving the Crowned Heads of Europe. The war is presented as the "new attraction" at the Brighton Amusement Pier, complete with syrupy cheer-up songs, shooting galleries, free prizes and a scoreboard toting up the dead. Throughout the proceedings, the camera concentrates on a ...
See more details below
This DVD (Wide Screen) is Not Available through BN.com

Overview

Oh! What a Lovely War is an every-man-for-himself adaptation of Charles Chilton's 1963 play, as staged in London by Joan Littlewood. The tragedy of World War I is redefined in bawdy music-hall terms, beginning with a verbal free-for-all involving the Crowned Heads of Europe. The war is presented as the "new attraction" at the Brighton Amusement Pier, complete with syrupy cheer-up songs, shooting galleries, free prizes and a scoreboard toting up the dead. Throughout the proceedings, the camera concentrates on a middle-class family, whose five sons end up as cannon fodder. The final image is a veddy proper British picnic on a graveyard. Of the many fleeting satiric images parading past the camera, one of the most indelible is the sight of several generals playing leapfrog as the world all around them goes to hell in a handbasket. The awesome all-star cast includes Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Maggie Smith, John Gielgud, Michael Redgrave, Jack Hawkins, John Mills, Susannah York, Dirk Bogarde and Phyllis Calvert. We haven't seen this many Englishmen in one place since the last Wimbledon match. The whole affair was supervised by Richard Attenborough, making his directorial debut a question: why was he up to the challenge of this musical extravaganza, yet seemed helpless in the face of 1985's A Chorus Line?.
Read More Show Less

Special Features

Commentary by director Lord Ruchard Attenborough; 3-part documentary: Welcome to World War I; The Smith Family Album; Keep the Home Fires Burning
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Filmed at the height of the Vietnam conflict, Oh! What a Lovely War is a strange, one-of-a-kind musical film. It is not for all tastes and definitely has its share of flaws: It drags at times, the mixture of styles does not always work, it can be too ironic by half, the revue-like nature of the source material does not always translate well to the screen, the parade of impressive British talent becomes obtrusive, and it is occasionally obscure. But it also is undeniably powerful and features individual sequences that linger in the memory long after the movie is over. Among these are the image of a toy merry-go-round with toy figures which becomes a live merry-go-round with live soldiers and then becomes live soldiers in too-real combat, or the sequence in which a proper English lady convincing young boys to join up for the effort suddenly becomes a tart duping boys into coming up on-stage. And few cinematic moments make as bold a statement as the end sequence, in which a child at a picnic asks what his Daddy did in the war. There is no answer, only the camera deliberately pulling back to reveal first one cross amid some poppies, then another cross, and then more until the viewer sees that the picnic is taking place in a cemetery that eventually fills the screen. In such sequences, director Richard Attenborough displays an impressive mastery of touch. If the film is not a complete success, it does contain individual moments that are exceptional.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/7/2006
  • UPC: 097360690125
  • Original Release: 1969
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:24:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ralph Richardson Sir Edward Grey
Meriel Forbes Lady Grey
Wensley Pithey Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Ruth Kettlewell Duchess Sophie
Ian Holm President Poincare
John Gielgud Count Berchtold
Kenneth More Kaiser Wilhelm II
Paul Daneman Nicholas II
Joe Melia Photographer
Jack Hawkins Emperor Franz Josef
Kim Smith Dickie Smith
Mary Wimbush Mary Smith
Paul Shelley Jack Smith
Wendy Allnutt Flo Smith
John Rae Grandpa Smith
Corin Redgrave Bertie Smith
Colin Farrell Harry Smith
Maurice Roeves George Smith
Angela Thorne Betty Smith
John Mills Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig
Jean-Pierre Cassel French Colonel
Maggie Smith Music Hall Star
David Lodge Recruiting Sergiant
Michael Redgrave General Sir Henry Wilson
Laurence Olivier Field Marshal Sir John French
Peter Gilmore Private Burgess
Juliet Mills First Nurse At Station
Nanette Newman Second Nurse At Station
Susannah York Eleanor
Dirk Bogarde Stephen
Cecil Parker Sir John
Robert Flemyng Staff Officer
Isabel Dean Sir John French's Lady
Guy Middleton Gen. Sir. Wm. Robertson
Natasha Parry Sir Wm. Robertson's Lady
Norman Shelley Staff Officer
Thorley Walters Staff Officer
Phyllis Calvert Lady Haig
Vanessa Redgrave Sylvia Pankhurst
Clifford Mollison First Heckler
Harry Locke Third Heckler
Michael Bates Drunken Corporal
Vincent Ball Australian Singer
Gerald Sim Clergyman
Dorothy Reynolds Second Heckler
John Clements
Marianne Stone 2nd Mill Girl
Technical Credits
Richard Attenborough Director, Producer
Don Ashton Production Designer
Ron Ballanger Special Effects
Douglas Campbell Consultant/advisor
Kevin Connor Editor
Len Deighton Producer, Screenwriter
Brian Duffy Producer
Eleanor Fazan Choreography
Stuart Freeborn Makeup
Peter Handford Sound/Sound Designer
Simon Kaye Sound/Sound Designer
Anthony Mendleson Costumes/Costume Designer
Peter James Set Decoration/Design
Alfred Ralston Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Gerry Turpin Cinematographer
Harry White Art Director
Read More Show Less

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Oh! What a Lovely War [Special Collector's Edition]
1. The Players [:10]
2. Declaration of War [8:05]
3. The Smith Family [:20]
4. Glorious Army [7:31]
5. Join the Forces [:24]
6. The New Recruits [5:36]
7. Waiting for Orders [2:03]
8. Christmas Truce [6:09]
9. Oh! It's a Lovely War [3:23]
10. Gas Mishap [5:33]
11. Army Ball [2:27]
12. Just One More Battle [2:57]
13. In Vain [4:44]
14. Song for the Soldiers [:55]
15. Reinforcements [7:04]
16. No More a Mortal Sin [7:11]
17. War of Attrition [3:12]
18. Attacks and Counterattacks [1:58]
19. The Yanks Are Coming [6:23]
20. Smith Family Reunion [7:52]
Read More Show Less

Menu

Disc #1 -- Oh! What a Lovely War [Special Collector's Edition]
   Play
   Set Up
      Audio Options
         English Mono
         Commentary by Director Lord Richard Attenborough
      Subtitle Options
         English
         None
   Special Features
      Commentary by Director Lord Ruchard Attenborough
      3-Part Documentary
         Welcome to World War One
         The Smith Family Album
         Keep the Home Fires Burning
         Play All
   Scene Selection
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously