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Mainstream - How I Won The War - John Lennon

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How I Won The War
Michael Crawford, John Lennon
Directed by Richard Lester
Originally released 1967
MGM On Demand 2011

If you enjoy British comedy a la Goon Show (especially Bridge on the River Wai) and Monty Python you are going to have jolly good fun watching Richard Lester s How I Won the War. The How I Won The War DVD cover makes a big deal about John Lennon being in this movie but this is really an disassembled ensemble effort and Lennon just another actor. The DVD is an MGM On Demand release which means get yours while you can. For an even more limited time it also comes with a cool enough  26-page 8 X 11 photobook.

Do not in any circumstance try to make heads or tails of How I Won The War? You can't. For example Lieutenant Goodbody (Michael Crawford) is simultaneously a German prisoner in Europe and part of the campaign in South Africa. The best way to approach this comedy is as a series of very loosely connected sketches.

The oddest thing about this movie is how it spoofs dead-on  the characters and tone of some British WW II movies and British soldiers in some American war movies.

Goodbody (Crawford) is a nobody put in charge of a group of civilians in uniform. One of his missions is to get behind enemy lines and set up a cricket pitch for when the other troops get there. One of the men in his command is Gripweed (John Lennon).

There are many many very weird and hard to explain or fathom things in this movie. There is a soldier painted like a green army man and one painted pink. Stock WWII footage toted green or red is sometimes used.

All this and more is probably why this How I Won The War DVD is more a curiosity, and being released as such, than a classic.

This is one of the MGM manufactured on demand titles. This means a limited run and release window. On Demand is one way the studios have found to make some of their odder or cult favorite titles available to movie fans. The DVDs themselves look like a major release but the discs are a bit more susceptible to nicks and scratches as they are similar to recordable DVD.

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