Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Up to 70% off Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

142 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll never see a better war film, 11 Nov. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Oh! What a Lovely War: The Special Collector's Edition [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
I'm bemused by the tendency to assert that this film is a veiled Vietnam film, "ostensibly" about another war, as this Amazon review puts it. It IS about another war, one that was far more important to the nation where it was written and filmed, and in which the father of writer and director Charles Chilton was killed. Anyway, I watched it as a First World War film, and that is how it has always seemed to me: it comments on all other wars, implicitly, of course.

It's silly to compare or measure this against most other war films, because it is so unlike any other, but it stands out as a dramatic, cinematic, narrative gem. A serious musical about the horrors of war: sounds as likely as a serious musical about living in Nazi Germany. Oh, wait...someone did that too. Cabaret must owe quite a bit to this film, not least in the "tomorrow belongs to me" scene, although they wrote their songs from scratch for Cabaret.

The songs here are real, some the official versions from popular music hall, and some the unofficial versions sung by the troops, with considerably darker lyrics (though they omitted the rudest of the unofficial lyrics). The humour is black and dry as a tomb, and you don't quite know whether to laugh or wince in a lot of places (just do both). But the real beauty of the film is in the settings, which are sparse, only partly realistic, and sometimes subject to extraordinary changes. The most impressive are slow 360 degree pans, during which everything changes behind the camera's back, so that when you get back the character you started with, they are in a completely different situation. These and other rapid scene shifts are part of whole film's unreal, nightmarish quality that matches the subject matter perfectly.

If you haven't seen it, make sure you do. If you saw it long ago and dimly remember it and wonder if it was as good as you remember (or maybe better than you thought), I'd say yes, and you should refresh your acquaintance. This seems an almost absurdly cheap price for it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments

Tracked by 1 customer

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Sep 2009 17:08:52 BDT
A very thoughtful review - I agree wholeheartedly with the writer. My own view is that the film should be shown to all children who are being taught British modern history - might make them think a bit!

Posted on 2 Aug 2010 23:35:57 BDT
J. Harrison says:
I would certainly suggest that dear Flora reads a little more carefully as there is no implication of this emulating 'Vietnam', simply coming from the era. Other than that, it surely is a film not to have missed for any reason other than the fright of having fought in this era.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Aug 2011 10:35:24 BDT
Surely nobody who has seen this film can ever forget the final , memory-searing imagery of the lengthy pan across the endless white crosses which seem to cover the entire landscape? It's just as iconic as Martin Sheen's head rising from the river in 'Apocalypse Now' ... Two images which stay with you forever and, in so doing, remind you of the terrible histories they separately portray. There's no reason whatsoever to associate 'Oh, what a lovely war' with the Vietnam war beyond the fact that they both focus upon two conflicts with few positive outcomes and a whole history of negative, world-changing consequences.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jul 2013 12:27:36 BDT
P. G. Croft says:
I agree with your assessment--this is simply THE anti war film to end them all, regardless of history. Please read my 'comment' to Mr R Jordon's review --2006
‹ Previous 1 Next ›