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Comedy - Family

Dad’s Army (2016)

Duration1h 40m
RatingsUK: PG, Elsewhere TV ratings. Denmark: 15. 
Source of storyA riff on the Tv series using the characters developed by Jimmy Perry and David Croft.
DirectorOliver Parker
Writers/ScriptHamish McCall
StarringDaniel Mays, Toby Jones, Michael Gambon, Bill Nighy, Bill Paterson, Tom Courtney, Mark Gatiss, Sarah Lancaster, Alison Steadman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Annette Crosbie
RatingsIMDb: 5.2/10 by 8127 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 31% by 35 reviewers. Review2view: 6.5/10.

Elevator Pitch: The bumbling home guard unit, led by the bank manager, Captain Mainwaring, at Walmington-on-Sea is at the forefront of British defence against the possibility of German invasion in 1944. They are aware that there may be spies in the vicinity testing the British defences. However, on the arrival of Rose Winters, an elegant journalist with whom Sergeant Wilson, now the assistant bank manager, is acquainted, the platoon finds itself at odds as they compete for her affections. But we, the audience know that she is a spy having seen her transmitting messages to Germany, and these are detected by MI5. Things get worse when, due to the platoon’s ineptitude, she sees that a field full of tanks are actually fakes. When she tries to make her escape by submarine can the guys save the day?

Content: No sex or nudity, or any smoking but some social drinking I think. The strength of this film, if it has one, is that the cast are actually acting as the characters in the TV show. They are chased by a bull in the opening sequence. They carry out exercises in disguise and vegetation and Mainwaring is often lectured by his superior officers and once to twice threated by the secret service. There is a bit of drill in the village hall and almost continuous altercations with the wives and girlfriends as numbers of them try to woo Rose. Meanwhile some of the villagers realise what Rose is.

A View: The few critics who had a look at this generally considered that it was a poor use of a talented cast and it could be that to get any fun out of this outing at all you have to have seen at least one or two of the TV shows. Apparently the ancient van operated by Corporal Jones is the same one which was used in the television version. Most of the cast on television had stock phrases, Frazer used to say “We’re doomed!”. Jones used to shout “Don’t panic!” while panicking. Mainwaring used to describe Pike as a “Stupid boy!” but the scriptwriter chose not to include these. Possibly a good thing. So, it’s not as bad as it is critiqued. A watch for nothing while doing something else.

Despite the large number of WW11 films available not all that many have been reviewed on this site. However during the depths of COVID lockdown I made a podcast describing five of the best. I take the opportunity of providing the link here. https://youtu.be/dg0XrnUXwC4

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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