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Remembered Today:

Oh, What a Lovely War!


Tom Morgan
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Hmmmmm....thinks...can I afford to buy every copy and pulp them......

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Despites Steve's thoughts, I look forward to the dvd coming out.

ps I have often wondered how long it took them to place all the crosses on the hillside at the very end of the film.

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"Crosses on the hillside"

Remind me again, which nation marked their fallen with rows of white crosses?

Ian

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I have never seen the play nor the film, but I have read it. Its fun in terms of music and fairly interesting in terms of style but it is not history (except within the context of theatre and moviemaking), despite its claims to be so. I think that the ''historical advisor'' for either the original play or the movie was a Soviet spy. I also felt the play to be fairly anti-capitalist throughout (not wanting to provoke a major discussion into the merits and problems of capitalism).

...and, my father told me, the original authors of the play only decided to add the music about a week before its first performance.

Jon :)

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Hmmmmm....thinks...can I afford to buy every copy and pulp them......

Steven, have you noticed that many in the cast are former ENSA boys? Tch, tch... One feels a bit of lack of respect towards their elders :(

Remind me again, which nation marked their fallen with rows of white crosses?

I think it's France.

Gloria

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Gloria - look at a french cemetery and then at the film and tell me thet're identical.

Ian

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re the crosses: Is the flag in the young lady's left hand a clue?

re the subject: We know its not "history" but then neither are some bits of the Great War Forum, are they

buy and enjoy

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Ian, I've been googling images for French cemeteries and they seem cloned.

I wonder if Richard Attemborough chose crosses because they are more identifiable with tombs... or maybe he wanted to blame DH for French Casualties, too?

Gloria

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Gloria,

I've visited many french cemeteries and their concrete crosses are nothing like the film ones. It does not really detract from the impact of that part of the film. I can understand folks hating the trivialised points which the film attempts to make and I wince often when viewing it but..... I do enjoy the music and the whole artifice of having the war on the end of a pier. I may well buy a copy!

Cheers,

Ian

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A very good movie. It's an anti-war film and not meant to be historically accurate. View it with the era it was made in, in mind. It was not the first film about WW1 that took a similar sort of stance. There are number of other films, (not to mention plays) dating from the 1930's onwards that took a similar line, including All Quiet on the Western Front, Comrades of 1918 and Paths of Glory to name but a few.

It's worth getting, if nothing else, to see how the war film genre progressed, or otherwise, over the years, depending on your point of view. And it also has a good soundtrack with regards to soldiers songs of the period.

Terry Reeves

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Fantastic news! Doesn't represent my view of the war but the songs are superb. Got the film on a recorded, scratchy video and have seen it 'live' in Brecon about 10 years ago.

I'll get it...

Bernard

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What do Region 1 and R2 mean?

Marina

Something to do with DVD encription. You have to buy a compatible DVD - UK is region 2 (so Mrs Broomfield tells me). Dunno about Spain.

And, yes, I'll probably end up buying the blasted thing, even if only to go harrumph every so often.....

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A friend has a copy of tyhis and said it was ok but at two hours it could have been cut by a bit, 1hr three quarters or so, and it would be ok!!!

He was not joking...music was good though he added

Arm

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And, yes, I'll probably end up buying the blasted thing, even if only to go harrumph every so often.....

Steven,

Do you also "harrumph" at your avatar?

The film tells of a British wartime aviator who cheats death and who must argue for his life before a celestial court.

Pure bunkum but also very entertaining. ;)

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I may possibly be one of the few forum users who’s had something to do with a real production of OWALW. Accurate or not, and I know it’s not, really, it had a powerful impact on the performers and production crew, who went around singing the songs for ages afterwards, with a tear in their eyes, and the audience found it both poignant and harrowing.

Reflecting on the film, the performances which Joan Littlewood forced out of her actors always awe me, whatever the material.

There’s space for pieces which are historically accurate and for those which are ground-breaking theatrical collage.

In those days we could use real bayonets and we did. I had an arsenal of blades, grenades and borrowed guns stuffed in a rickety cupboard. H&S would have had a fit.

Gwyn

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I take it it was bad?

No. See it with an open mind and enjoy it as drama.

Gwyn :)

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Oh! What A Lovely War was on one of the Sky movie channels a couple of years ago, so I got my uncle (who had one of the first DVD recorders when they cost a bomb) to record it. I'd been to see a local theatre production of it a few years before, but it didn't really "work", so I was glad to be able to see the film.

It doesn't fit with my viewpoint on the war either, but I think it's still worth watching.

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As a teenager, I watched OWALW and was hooked. This, and the 1964 Great War series, went a long way towards forming my enduring and inexplicable fascination with the War.

How disappointing it was years later to see it again and note all the howlers. Numerous liberties had been taken with history, and whilst I'd originally found the opening title shots of all the soldiers' equipment particularly effective, as an experienced collector I could now see it was nothing but tatty old theatricals webbing and WW2 gas masks and boots!

But that's not the point. This isn't history; it's an evocation and should be seen as such. If it draws people in, as it did me, so much the better.

Not only that, but the songs are still wonderful and sometimes deeply moving, as is the final scene with the crosses on the downs. (Didn't we use these before replacing them with gravestones in the 20s?.)

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OWALW takes hours to make its point fully: this song, sung to its music, produces misty eyes in moments: there are days I dare not play it.

Well, how do you do Private William McBride?

Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside?

And rest for awhile neath the warm summer sun

I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done

And I see by your gravestone, you're only nineteen

When you joined the great fallen in nineteen sixteen

Well I hope you died quickly, I hope you died clean

Or poor Willy Mcbride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they beat the drums slowly?

Did they play the pipes lowly?

Did they bugles carry you over as they lowered you down?

And did the band play 'The Last Post' in chorus?

Did the pipes play 'The Flowers Of The Forest'?

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?

In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined?

And though you died back in nineteen-sixteen

In that faithful heart are you always nineteen?

Or are you a stranger without a name?

Forever enshrined behind some glass pane

In an old photograph, torn and tattered, and stained.

And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame.

Did they beat the drums slowly?

Did they play the pipes lowly?

Did they bugles carry you over as they lowered you down?

And did the band play 'The Last Post' in chorus?

Did the pipes play 'The Flowers Of The Forest'?

Well the sun's shining down on these green fields of France

The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance

The trenches have vanished long under the plow

There's no gas, no barb wire, there's no guns firing now

But here in this graveyard that's still no-man's land

The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand

To man's blind indifference to his fellow man

The whole generation was butchered and damned

Did they beat the drums slowly?

Did they play the pipes lowly?

Did they bugles carry you over as they lowered you down?

And did the band play 'The Last Post' in chorus?

Did the pipes play 'The Flowers Of The Forest'?

And I can't help but wonder young Willy McBride

Do those that lie here know why that they died?

And did they really believe you when you told them the cause

Did they really believe that this war would end wars?

Well the suffering, and the sorrow, the glory of pain

The killing and dying they were all done in vain

For young Willy McBride it's all happened again,

And again, and again, and again, and again...

Did they beat the drums slowly?

Did they play the pipes lowly?

Did they bugles carry you over as they lowered you down?

And did the band play 'The Last Post' in chorus?

Did the pipes play 'The Flowers Of The Forest'?

drat, I read it and its done it again!

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Epic scenes -

As mentioned .. the closing sequence is SUPERB

The winding line of soldiers singing 'hanging on the old barbed wire'

And yeah, I do love the bit with the Aussies singing leapfrog.

AND I still maintain that the bit with the Irish blokes getting ahead of their own barrage (take this message back and if you get shot I'll kill ye) was based on the Ulster Div experience - except they managed to depict the landscape as more 3rd Ypres than Somme.

Yours, parochially.

Des

I luvs it I does. Just a 60s movie. Yeah. Make luv not war. Charlie don't surf.

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