The best one can say about this lame comedy is that it is inane, silly, and contrived. Blatty's screenplay and Edwards' direction are appallingly dumb, making this film one of the worst war comedies ever made. It's 1943 in Sicily and war-weary Shawn is the commanding officer of a troop
unit about to take over a small village. As far as wars go, this seems sensible, although the US troops don't want to make any trouble. The locals are quite willing to go along with the occupation and will offer no resistance. However, there are some stipulations which must be met if the takeover
is to be bloodless. There is an annual soccer game about to be played, followed by a wine festival. If the US is willing to wait until these two events have ended, all will go smoothly. (It is at this point that the movie slips into the absurd). Shawn thinks he may not have done right by agreeing
to the deal. His second in command, Coburn, convinces him that all they will lose is a brief time and they may save many lives. Once the decision is made, the Americans and Italians join forces for an orgy of partying that turns into a round-the-clock bacchanalia that would have pleased Nero.
While the fun is going on, both the Germans and the US send scout planes and, from overhead, it looks like resistance fighting rather than fun and games. The Germans radio to their troops to attack the town and when they do, they find Americans wearing every sort of uniform, including German togs.
American flags fly high over the town as the Germans begin to round up all the drunken troops. The US forces have been alerted and a unit is sent to rescue the first group. They pop in and out of catacombs like moles and eventually manage to capture all of the Germans. This, of course, leads to
another celebration, which is every bit as mindless as the first one. It's hard to understand how some superior talents like Edwards and Blatty could have been involved with this tripe. Most people think of Blatty's THE EXORCIST but he also wrote several comedies including THE MAN FROM THE DINER'S
CLUB, and JOHN GOLDFARB, PLEASE COME HOME. The acting is quite good, in spite of the script. Carroll O'Connor is particularly fine. (He was doing more and more of these brass-bottom military parts until he got his career break in "All in the Family"). Vito Scotti, Jay Novello, and Johnny Seven are
also notable. But all the actors' efforts are wasted on this poor excuse for a comedy, totally lacking the lightness and verve of Edwards' other works. There are a few genuinely funny "takes" on the part of Shawn, but sitting through 116 minutes of alleged humor in the hopes of garnering a smile
is a bit too much punishment. This movie was made between Edwards' THE GREAT RACE and GUNN, so maybe it was just a momentary lapse in judgement. Blatty worked on GUNN as well as Edwards' other huge disaster, DARLING LILI, before hitting it big with THE EXORCIST.
Cast & Details See all »
- Rating: NR
- Review: The best one can say about this lame comedy is that it is inane, silly, and contrived. Blatty's screenplay and Edwards' direction are appallingly dumb, making this film one of the worst war comedies ever made. It's 1943 in Sicily and war-weary Shawn is the… (more)