Movie Diary 8/3/2021

How I Won the War (Richard Lester, 1967). First viewing of this since showing it at a Seattle Film Society event a couple of weeks after John Lennon’s murder. It’s on a very good-looking blu-ray, although my anticipation of watching the movie with subtitles (it’s full of mutterings and accents and slang) was dashed when the disc turned out to have none such. Still: It’s a blistering film, an antiwar satire of the kind that leaves an incredibly bitter aftertaste, as it should. (And part of the “war” is the class one, as many of the jokes in Charles Wood’s screenplay spell out.) Lester’s rhythm makes the nested-in-flashback structure seem perfectly lucid, and some of the image-making, with pictures in a bleak landscape, is chilling. Great supporting cast behind upper-class twit Michael Crawford: Roy Kinnear, Lee Montague, Michael Hordern, et al. You’d think they might have given Lennon a couple more speeches or something – he’s strictly part of the ensemble – given his billing and his Beatle-ness, but he’s still a notable, and touching, presence.

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