HOW I WON THE WAR
1967, Park Circus/MGM, 110 min, UK, Dir: Richard Lester

Maverick director Richard Lester (A HARD DAY’S NIGHT and HELP!) recruited John Lennon (in his only solo acting role) for this wildly surreal satire on war movies, featuring Michael Crawford (THE KNACK) as a blissfully unaware idiot charged with building a cricket pitch behind enemy lines during World War II. Although nominally set in the 1940s, HOW I WON THE WAR exudes the 1960s’ anti-establishment tone, featuring abrupt time shifts, jump-cutting and Lester’s patented blend of biting wit and surreal slapstick which presaged Monty Python. Incidentally, Lester always chafes when this film is simplistically described as “an anti-war movie.” As he explains: “It’s an ‘anti-WAR-MOVIE’ movie.” With Jack MacGowran.


HELLO, DOLLY!
1969, 20th Century Fox, 146 min, USA, Dir: Gene Kelly

This irresistible film adaptation - from one of Jerry Herman’s finest musicals - features the fabulous Barbra Streisand in a kick-out-the-jams performance as matchmaker Dolly Levi, furiously working to make marriages while trying to snag bachelor Walter Matthau for herself. Staged with gusto by dancing legend-turned-director Gene Kelly, and featuring a wonderful supporting cast including Tommy Tune, Michael Crawford and jazz legend Louis Armstrong (whose version of the title song is itself worth the price of admission!).


THE JOKERS
1967, Universal, 94 min, UK, Dir: Michael Winner

Director Michael Winner’s dazzling (but rarely screened) satire of Young London features Michael Crawford (pre-“Phantom of the Opera”) and Oliver Reed as a pair of rich, freewheeling brothers making the rounds of posh parties. Their anarchic spirit gets the better of them - and a string of increasingly elaborate pranks results in their making off with the Crown.


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