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How I Won The War

Richard Lester, popular purveyor of under cranked knees-bent running about in The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night (1964), took on a more sombre mantle for this ‘self-alienating’ war epic wherein clueless lieutenant Michael Crawford supervises the construction of an army cricket pitch in war-torn North Africa. The aim was to undercut the then roaring trade in exciting WWII pictures with a dose of anti-jingoistic reality, but such trick as having John Lennon and Roy Kinnear deliver sober homilies straight to camera, and dead soldiers silently rejoining the platoon coated in coloured paint, preached that little bit too hard, and the gung ho tide remained stubbornly unturned.



  1. THX 1139

    April 15, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    Another problem is that it’s just not funny, even when it’s supposed to be. Lester’s anti-heroic streak led him down some strange pathways, but at least Lennon got a pair of glasses out of it.

    • Sidney Balmoral James

      April 15, 2021 at 8:09 pm

      This was regarded at the time I believe as a bit of a rip-off, as John Lennon is not in it much. It’s also extremely disjointed and self-consciously surreal, so quite hard to follow. The bit when John gets hit by the mortar, and says to the camera, ‘I knew this would ‘appen. You knew this would ‘appen’ is hard to watch these days. Apparently, Cynthia Lennon got quite distressed at the premiere at that scene.

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