Situation Hopeless--But Not Serious

  • 1965
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, War

During the closing days of WW II American bombers are sent to destroy the German town of Altheim, though the only industrial target is a harmless sauerkraut factory. Surprisingly one of the bombers is shot down, and the two airmen aboard, Connors and Redford, parachute into enemy territory. Escaping from the Nazis, the two find refuge in the cellar of Guinness,...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

Rating:

During the closing days of WW II American bombers are sent to destroy the German town of Altheim, though the only industrial target is a harmless sauerkraut factory. Surprisingly one of the bombers is shot down, and the two airmen aboard, Connors and Redford, parachute into enemy

territory. Escaping from the Nazis, the two find refuge in the cellar of Guinness, a shy, quiet shop clerk who lives alone. Discovering the Americans, Guinness decides to capture them by locking the cellar door. Having finally found a way to keep from being lonely and purposeless, Guinness keeps

the men captive and seeks their cooperation by explaining that if he released them the Nazis would surely put them in a prison much worse than his cellar. The men agree and settle down for the duration. Months later the war ends and American occupation forces arrive in Altheim. Not wanting to lose

his "guests," Guinness keeps the Allied victory a secret and invents fictitious tales of brilliant Nazi military exploits. Seven years go by, and the two prisoners grow depressed at the thought of a world run by the Nazis. Soon the Christmas season is once again upon Altheim, and Guinness leaves

his house to buy a Christmas goose for Redford and a prostitute for Connors. Guinness ventures into the Daffy-Dil Club and speaks with the madame, Rahl. The shy shopkeeper trys to explain that he wants a girl to come to his house, where the man she is to "entertain" is chained to a bed in the

cellar, but Rahl concludes he's a crazy man and has him thrown out. The unexpected excitement gives Guinness a heart attack, and he is taken to the hospital and forced to convalesce for several days. Panicked that Connors and Redford are starving to death, Guinness escapes from the hospital,

steals a bicycle, and pedles home with two policemen in hot pursuit. Fearing discovery, Guinness gives the men provisions and sends them on their way without telling them that the war is over. While making their way through the streets of Germany, Connors and Redford notice all the rebuilding and

conclude that Germany has indeed won the war. Finally the men make it to the German-Swiss border, but their path is blocked by Nazi soldiers, who in reality are just extras in a Hollywood movie being shot there. Determined to make their bid for freedom, the two flyers bravely fight their way

through the "enemy" and make it to Switzerland. Of course the men soon learn the truth, and, back in America, Connors and Redford throw a party at which they promise to tell of their bizzare imprisonment. Halting in mid-sentence, they explain that only one man can really relate the story properly,

and Redford calls in his happy butler, Guinness, to tell the tale. Based on a popular novel by Robert Shaw and directed by Reinhardt, SITUATION HOPELESS--BUT NOT SERIOUS was only the second screen appearance of Redford. The young star found the director unimaginative and the shooting tedious,

though he used the opportunity to learn from Guinness, one of Britain's greatest actors. Despite the potential, the film suffers from a lackluster pace and heavy-handed direction, which makes the American flyers' 7-year imprisonment feel like it's going by in real time. Though SITUATION

HOPELESS--BUT NOT SERIOUS contains a few bright moments, overall the situation is monotonous and not very funny.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Rating: NR
  • Review: During the closing days of WW II American bombers are sent to destroy the German town of Altheim, though the only industrial target is a harmless sauerkraut factory. Surprisingly one of the bombers is shot down, and the two airmen aboard, Connors and Redfo… (more)

Show More »