Well, I can't review the DVD as it's not released yet, but firstly thank God to whoever managed to finally overcome whatever obstacles were in its way. A 1969 film finally makes it to DVD in 2006...
And what a film. It struck me that many people will never have even seen this masterpiece (and there are very few films I would call that) before. For those who haven't, be aware that the title is ironic. This movie shows how most of Europe, then other continents, were drawn into the carnage of World War 1 by old alliances. And then, how the slaughter went on, and on... But also be aware that it's a musical, where the musical numbers comment on the madness of the war, and underline the black humour necessary to keep everyone going. Songs like 'When This Lousy War is Over', 'Good-bye-ee' and 'We Don't Want to Lose You ( but think you ought to go)' stick in the mind long after seeing the film.
The cast is like a Who's Who of British acting: John Gielgud, John Mills, Kenneth More, Vanessa Redgrave, Jack Hawkins, Dirk Bogarde.... Much of the film was made on location in, and near, Brighton; the famous pier is used to great effect, as, amongst other things, the control centre for the British generals. In one memorable scene the ever-growing casualty figures are displayed in enormous numbers whilst Field Marshall Haig (John Mills) decides to send yet more men over the top. In fact the film is arguably more a series of set pieces than a running narrative.
And that incredible final shot!!! What a treat for those who haven't seen the film before. I saw this on first release in 1969 at the Lounge Cinema, Headingley, Leeds, and can still remember watching as the entire screen filled with...ahh, wait and see.
For me, this is the most anticipated DVD ever; I just hope that loving care has been taken over the transfer of this, one of the most extraordinary films of all time.