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Oh! What a Lovely War

Oh! What A Lovely War

Richard Attenborough

WW I musical liberally laced with satirical anti-war sentiment that charts the story of much of the First World War via a series of vignettes/tableaux.

A quite unique film that wears its anti-war colours firmly on its sleeve from the very opening, lampooning the various parties involved in the run-up to the beginning of the war. What follows though is no simple, dryly barbed exercise in wit but instead an offering cleverly constructed around various wartime songs of the period that mixes both the comedic and poignant to very good effect.

That proceedings manage to be so effective without recourse to graphic content is quite admirable, both the futility and absurdity of some of the trench warfare may be spelled out a little too overtly in places but none of the impact is lost for that and wisely whilst the terrible price in terms of loss of life is an aspect that recurs it is not particularly dwelt upon until the fitting finale.

The ensemble cast all play their parts with aplomb and some of the transitions between the 'carnival' HQ and the front are delightfully presented (the French cavalry 'carousel' being a stand-out in that regard).

Oh! What A Lovely War is a little drawn out in places but for me is still very effective in what it sets out to achieve and deserves a