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How I Won The War Special Edition plus Commemorative Photo Album - comedy DVD / satire DVD / British farce DVD / anti-war DVD review
HOW I WON THE WAR (SPECIAL EDITION PLUS COMMEMORATIVE PHOTO ALBUM) Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 2 stars
Featuring: John Lennon, Michael Crawford, Roy Kinnear, Jack MacGowran, Lee Montague
Director: Richard Lester   Studio: MGM
DVD release: 20 March 2011   Runtime: 111 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: Color, Dolby, DVD, NTSC

DVD features: Aspect ratio 1.66:1, Audio (English - Dolby Digital 2.0), Trailer, Commemorative photo book

How I Won The War Special Edition plus Commemorative Photo Album - British anti-war comedy DVDThe last time I saw How I Won The War was over fifteen years ago. It was touted on its original 1967 release as an anti-war comedy. While it does contain elements of comedy and elements of anti-war, the whole thing is such a disorganized mess that I can't follow it. John Lennon is in it, and on the box cover. I cynically thought that they did so for this special edition to boost sales (they probably did), but they did the same for the original release, too - perhaps more so. John was a Beatle at the time of its debut, likely a good selling point.

Richard Lester (Help!, A Hard Day's Night, Superman II) is a skilled director, but he was unable to pull off a success this time. How I Won The War focuses on Lt. Goodbody (Michael Crawford), a British officer in charge of a group of soldiers tasked with hitting the beach and setting up a cricket pitch. Things begin to fall apart from the first step (for both the film and the soldiers).

The story flashes between real World War II footage and the action of the company. At some point the company picks up brightly colored soldiers (I could never quite figure out if they were supposed to represent soldiers the company lost in battle or not). Goodbody has extensive conversations with a German officer, comparing leading styles and thoughts on their men. This dialogue is intercut with the action of the film. At first I thought it would all come together in the end. It doesn't. I briefly entertained the notion of re-watching, thinking I'd missed something. After some brief reflection, I thought better of it.

How I Won The War is a mess. If you're considering watching it because you love John Lennon, you'll be rewarded with lots of brief shots of him and the occasional wry comment. Do not expect to come out with your opinions on war bolstered or weakened. The film has no net effect.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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