Oh! What A Lovely War

Oh! What A Lovely War (Richard Attenborough, 1969)

  • 31 Jul 11:26
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Oh! What a Lovely War is a musical film based on the stage musical Oh, What a Lovely War! that Joan Littlewood and her Theatre Workshop created in 1963, which was itself inspired by "The Donkeys," Alan Clark's 1961 attack on Great War generalship. The title is derived from the music hall song Oh! It's a Lovely War, which is one of the major numbers in the productions. In 1969 Richard Attenborough directed a cinematic adaptation of the musical. His cast included Dirk Bogarde, John Gielgud, John Mills, Kenneth More, Laurence Olivier, Jack Hawkins, Corin Redgrave, Michael Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave, Ralph Richardson, Maggie Smith, Ian Holm, Paul Shelley, Malcolm McFee, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Nanette Newman, Edward Fox, Susannah York, John Clements, Phyllis Calvert and Maurice Roëves. The film has been released on DVD.

Oh! What A Lovely War summarizes and comments on the story of World War I using popular songs of the time. Many of these songs are much older popular songs that have been sarcastically re-worded by the soldiers serving on the front lines.

The film uses a variety of symbolic settings to portray vast summations of historical and societal forces at work. Brighton's West Pier,...


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