Monday, October 5, 2015

Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? (1970)

Director: Hy Averback

Writers: Hal Captain, Don McGuire

Composer: Jerry Fielding

Starring: Brian Keith, Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine, Ivan Dixon, Suzanne Pleshette, Tom Ewell, Bradford Dillman, Arthur O'Connell, John Fiedler, Don Ameche, Christopher Mitchum, Eddie Firestone

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  The motion picture that will melt your chocolate bar.

Plot: Tensions grow between the small army base and people from the nearby town. Despite well intentions of people from both sides it all escalates after the big dance in town.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

There's something about movies directed by people who directed a lot of TV that their movies feel like made for TV movies and this is one of them.  From the first few minutes I had that vibe and then I looked at Averback's credits to see that he mostly directed in television.  This anti-war comedy feels at home for the period it was made.  I didn't laugh but I enjoyed spending time with Keith and Dixon.  Borgnine was really good at being a bastard, wasn't he?  The finest moments happen between Keith and Dixon in talking about whether or not to continue serving in the Army and when Keith and Dillman share a bottle of whiskey and talk about life.  It's odd that what I liked best were the dramatic moments that snuck into this comedy.  The last 20 minutes get stupid and ridiculous with Keith and Dixon driving a tank, fighting the local police reserves (who somehow have a fleet of bright yellow cars), on their way to blow up Borgnine and his jail (Curtis is unjustly in jail). It's interesting that Ameche took a 13-year break from feature films although he did a few TV shows and movies in the interim.  John Fielder is always fun. You can't go wrong with that guy.  The songs and music are way too comedic.  I'm really surprised that the score came from Jerry Fielding.  I hadn't heard that side from him before.  I did get a kick out of having his music and Ivan Dixon working in the same picture.  They previously shared a credit on the TV series HOGAN'S HEROES.  If you watch it make sure you watch Curtis' lips when he delivers the last line.  The music suddenly comes in when he gets to, "...fucked this shit up.".  OK, so I finally laughed after all.  The MGM DVD has a great looking anamorphic widescreen print but that's it.  There are no extras. 

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