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Director Oliver Parker revives another iconic comedy series following his reboot of the
franchise in 2007. Here, he takes command of the second big-screen outing for the BBC's beloved Home Guard warhorse, in which Toby Jones's deluded Captain Mainwaring and Michael Gambon's smiley Private Godfrey are the standouts in an impressive parade of British character actors. It's an all-out laugh attack, expanding the action from parochial intrigue to espionage and actual conflict, while boosting female participation, which not only includes Catherine Zeta-Jones as a glamorous reporter who sets male hearts a-fluttering, but also the first flesh-and-blood appearance of the formidable Mrs Mainwaring (Felicity Montagu). Meanwhile, Annette Crosbie and Julia Foster are a delight as Godfrey's sisters, a pair of sibling Miss Marples. There are also pleasing cameos from Ian Lavender (the original Private Pike, played here by
star Blake Harrison) and Frank Williams (still the vicar), and nods to original episodes and catch phrases. But while the new
is celebratory in tone, not all the gags or comic-strip plotlines honour the spirit of the series, which could be subtle and poignant, too. It's fond, flag-waving, but also faulty.
The officious captain of a seaside town's home guard platoon tries to maintain the reputation and morale of his troops as the Second World War draws to a close. He finds himself dealing with the hunt for a German spy as well as a female journalist sent to report on the exploits of the brave but bumbling soldiers. Comedy based on the TV series, starring Toby Jones, Bill Nighy and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Cast & Crew
Lance Corporal Jones
The Reverend Timothy Farthing
DVD and Blu-ray
5 Feb 2016
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