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Oh! What a Lovely War

  • Musical
  • Comedy
  • 1969
  • Richard Attenborough
  • 138 mins
  • PG

Summary

Richard Attenborough's adaptation of Joan Littlewood and Charles Chilton's anti-war stage play features contemporary songs and a cast that reads like a roll-call of top British actors. The seaside, August 1914: as the Smith family and thousands of other Britons enjoy their summer holidays, the leaders of the European nations play tragic games taking their countries into "the war to end all wars".

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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Based on Joan Littlewood's stage production, this stylised, satirical and ultimately moving tribute to the soldiers who answered their country's call and fought in the Great War was Richard Attenborough's first film as a director. An all-star cast performs the original's jingoistic music hall songs, which Attenborough cleverly stages in Brighton's Royal Pavilion and on the old West Pier. While there was animosity behind the scenes - Len Deighton refused screen credit as the film's writer - this remains a distinctive piece of work and by far the most audacious film Attenborough has ever made. It also tapped into the post-Sergeant Pepper style that was all the rage in the late 1960s.

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Credits

Cast

rolename
StephenDirk Bogarde
Lady HaigPhyllis Calvert
French ColonelJean-Pierre Cassel
General Von MolkeJohn Clements
Count BerchtoldJohn Gielgud
Emperor Franz JosephJack Hawkins
Kaiser Wilhelm IIKenneth More
Field Marshal Sir John FrenchLaurence Olivier
General Sir Henry WilsonMichael Redgrave
Sylvia PankhurstVanessa Redgrave
Sir Edward GreyRalph Richardson
Music hall starMaggie Smith
EleanorSusannah York
Sir Douglas HaigJohn Mills
President PoincaréIan Holm
Tsar Nicholas IIPaul Daneman
PhotographerJoe Melia
Mary SmithMary Wimbush
Flo SmithWendy Allnutt
Bertie SmithCorin Redgrave
George SmithMaurice Roëves
Betty SmithAngela Thorne
Harry Arnold SmithColin Farrell (1)
Frederick Percy "Freddie" SmithMalcolm McFee
Jack Henry SmithPaul Shelley
NurseJuliet Mills
NurseNanette Newman
Aide to Field-Marshal HaigEdward Fox

Crew

rolename
DirectorRichard Attenborough

Details

Theatrical distributor
Paramount Film Service Ltd
Released on
1969-04-10
Languages
English | German | French
Available on
video and DVD
Formats
Colour
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