Dad's Army

1971

Comedy / War

2
IMDb Rating 7 10 2993

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 30, 2021 at 04:11 AM

Director

Cast

John Le Mesurier as Sgt. Wilson
Liz Fraser as Mrs. Pike
Arthur Lowe as Capt. Mainwaring
John Laurie as Pte. Frazer
720p.WEB
871.83 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 34 min
P/S 6 / 44

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gtbarker 9 / 10

A very strange take on this film from some other viewers

I have to say that some of the other reviews of this film I have read show very little understanding of it or the original TV series it stemmed from. Dad's Army was a sitcom and therefore had humour and so is bound to have put a smile on the face of the dire situation. However the series carried very many serious messages such as the episode 'Branded' about the bigotry and ignorance that was attached to conscientious objectors. The film was faithful to the series and was simply like an extended episode. So I'm afraid the reviewer who claimed that Columbia improved the humour was quite wrong and let's face it - the BBC sitcoms of this period beat anything that came out of America hands down. Also comments referring to propaganda were also way off the mark. The Homeguard were people considered unfit for frontline service who still wished to serve. They were very brave men who knew they were sentenced to death as soon as they signed up as Hitler announced that anyone who did so would be executed if and when Britain was invaded. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to set the record straight as it is always good to actually speak and comment on what has been seen rather making it up as you go along I find.

Reviewed by HenryHextonEsq 6 / 10

Enlarged from TV, yet also reduced.

"Dad's Army" gets off reasonably lightly here, in view of the old problem British cinema had in adapting popular sitcoms to film in the 1970s. There is a coarsening of the humour, but the historical setting perhaps provides a disincentive to the low-rent ribaldry so beloved of, say, the era's Carry Ons, Confessions..., Frankie Howerd or even Steptoe and Son films.

And, contrastingly with Brambell and Corbett, Lowe and Le Mesurier and the rest are restrained, more or less fully in tune with their television portrayals. It is only the often simplified nature of the scriptwriting which impoverishes the characters; they are otherwise present and correct. I feel it was a good decision to re-use the plot of "The Man and the Hour", the series' opening episode, which proves an excellent way to establish the setting, scenario and characters - was this possibly done to help with overseas sales? (I would hazard a bet that it was most successful in Britain overall, which would say a lot...) Such scenes as that of Mainwaring's condescending attitude to the chap in the wireless shop (as they listen to Eden's speech...), and the initial 'interviews' with Jones, Walker etc. stand up as effectively as they did on TV, and are beautifully played.

Unfortunately, a glaring error is to actually show the Germans, and mainly as purpose just to point up the plucky 'ingenuity' and 'improvisation' - themes constantly emphasises in the film - of the British Home Guard in comparison with the ruthlessly-planned German army. A contemporary reviewer rightfully mentioned that this robbed the film of the TV series' air of gentle, almost otherworldly fantasy: the Germans are always imagined, and are thus far more serious... and the TV series' focus was on the platoon's world: equally absurd and deadly serious. They are in exactly the same shoes as the older audience, present in the Home Front during WW2, who would never have *seen* actual Germans. The film takes a more 'epic' approach, which makes for a strongly nationalistic tone: most marked in John Burke's novelisation of the film, with its solemn 'and we won' ending.

The essential quality of Englishness is beautifully reflected in Godfrey's reading Edward Lear beneath a tree in the pouring rain, and in the use of location filming in the timeless, gorgeous English countryside. Unfortunately, this is double-edged; like the TV series, the 'training manoeuvres' seem just an excuse to get some nice exterior filming. Admittedly, the humour of these scenes might appeal to some, and some of the stalwart actors manage to raise laughs in me, but overall, the long section in the middle of the film is just padding between the cogent bits.

The ending in the church is terribly low-key, but fittingly in the sense of the 'stiff upper lip' heroism the film is celebrating - heroism always with a touch of the amateurish and absurd. I don't particularly like the ears-to-the-ground final scene, mind; they should have ended with the blissfully English 'going about business' routine of the platoon in civilian life: Mainwaring passing them on the street.

How can I quite summarise my feelings? While much of what I dislike is distilled in the unfortunate 'comedic' musical score, which particularly punctuates the 'training exercise' scenes, the score also contains a lyrical passage when Mainwaring and Wilson speak in silhouette against a wistful sunset:

Wilson. It's a beautiful sunset, sir.

MAINWARING. It's a beautiful land, Wilson...

This film maintains the level of acting seen in the original series, and it makes an admirable attempt to be consciously cinematic. Yes, the focus on Englishness is fairly simplistic, and the scripting notably less subtle, but at least the key elements are in harmony: characters, landscape and theme. It is overall a good encapsulation of the bumbling tenacity and inherent madness of the British; the ridiculous 'messing around' in a sublime countryside, and somehow pulling through to save the 'beautiful land' and its values, against the Nazi threat.

Reviewed by JamesHitchcock 7 / 10

Don't Panic!

The 1970s are often regarded as a golden age of British television comedy, a period which saw numerous classic sitcoms as well as sketch shows such as "Monty Python's Flying Circus". The period was, however, emphatically not a golden age of British film comedy, and what worked well on television rarely transferred successfully to the big screen. The most triumphant exceptions to this rule were provided by the Pythons, but their best films ("Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian") were very different in conception to their TV show.

The main problem with adapting sitcoms for the cinema is that concepts devised to fit the BBC's 30 minute slots (25 minutes on ITV, which has to find room for commercials) do not always work as well when expanded into a feature film three or four times as long. Few people will remember the film versions of, say, "Up Pompeii!" or "Steptoe and Son" with the same affection as the television versions. In the case of many classic TV comedy shows ("Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em", "Yes, Minister", "Fawlty Towers", "The Goodies") no attempt was made to film them at all, for which we can be grateful. Characters such as Michael Crawford's Frank Spencer or John Cleese's Basil Fawlty can be hilarious in half-hour doses, but I doubt if they would remain as funny over two hours. One comedy programme (albeit a dramatisation of a comic novel rather than a sitcom in the normal sense) which might have worked in the cinema was "The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin", but any hopes of a film were dashed by the tragically early death of its star Leonard Rossiter.

"Dad's Army" was one of the few television sitcoms of the period which was turned into a decent film. (About the only other one I can think of was "Porridge"). This was possibly because it had an unusually large number of well-developed characters and derived most of its humour from the interactions between them. The original sitcom ran between 1968 and 1977 and told of the misadventures of a Home Guard platoon in the small seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea. (The Home Guard, initially known as the Local Defence Volunteers, was an auxiliary militia during World War II made up, for the most part, of men too old to serve in the regular forces). The film version is a three-act drama. Act I deals with the formation of the platoon and the recruitment of its members. In Act II they cause havoc during an Army training exercise. In Act III they succeed in capturing a group of Nazi airmen whose plane has been shot down.

The three key players in this drama are the platoon's commander, Captain George Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe), and his two subordinates Sergeant Arthur Wilson (John Le Mesurier) and Corporal Jack Jones (Clive Dunn). Mainwaring, who in civilian life is the local bank manager, is a fussy little man, peering at the world through a pair of thick spectacles. It is he who takes the initiative in forming the Home Guard unit and who appoints himself its commander. He is pompous, officious, with an exaggerated sense of his own importance and of his own powers of leadership, the sort of man who does not suffer fools gladly. (And in George Mainwaring's world-view the term "fool" covers most of the rest of the human race). He does, however, have his good qualities. He is motivated by a genuine patriotic idealism and is capable of great physical courage, shown in his encounter with the Germans.

Wilson is Mainwaring's deputy at the bank. The two men are very different in character, something emphasised by a difference in appearance, Wilson being tall and thin whereas Mainwaring is short and stout. He comes across as being both more intelligent and better educated than his boss. (His accent suggests he may be a former public schoolboy). Nevertheless, he has ended up playing second fiddle both in civilian and military life, probably because he has the sort of passive personality which leads to pessimism and defeatism and an inability to take anything altogether seriously. Jones is an old soldier who now runs the local butcher's shop. (His promotion to Corporal is due mainly to his ability to bribe Mainwaring with black market sausages). His enthusiasm for his new role is matched only by his incompetence and ability to cause chaos. Although his catchphrase is "Don't panic!" he is prone to panicking at any given opportunity.

Several other members of the platoon are featured. Private Fraser, the dour Scottish undertaker, is even more of a pessimist than Wilson. (Catchphrase: "We're doomed, man, DOOMED!"). Private Godfrey is a gentle old man whose main concern is the whereabouts of the nearest lavatory. Private Walker is a sharp Cockney spiv and Private Pike (another bank employee) a spoilt mummy's boy. (Pike's mother is Wilson's mistress, although Wilson tries to keep this liaison secret from the disapproving Mainwaring). Two significant outsiders are the mild-mannered Vicar and the ARP warden, Mainwaring's detested enemy and quite his equal in pompousness and officiousness.

There are occasional bawdy doubles entendres ("Keep your hands off my privates"- Mainwaring is ostensibly referring to those soldiers who hold that rank), more so than in the television show which was surprisingly free of innuendo. (Its creators, David Croft and Jimmy Perry, would later go on to create comedy shows such as "Are You Being Served?" and "Hi-de-hi" which were notorious for suggestive humour). The film does, however, preserve much of the mixture of gentle wit, nostalgia and sharp characterisation which made the TV series so successful. 7/10

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