Published on August 13th, 2008 | by Chris0
What Did You Do In The War, Daddy? (1966)
From the masterminds behind “The Pink Panther” (no not the cartoon!) Blake Edwards, and composer Henry Mancini, comes What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? A hilarious and irreverant picture that really doesn’t have much to do with the war, or anyone’s daddy, except to serve as a backdrop to some pretty damn funny comedy.
The “by-the-book” Captain Cash (Dick Shawn) is tasked with taking a small Italian village with his newly entrusted company led by Lt. Christian (James Coburn). What they find instead is an Italian company more than eager to surrender without a fight. On one condition: That they allow the festival they are currently celebrating to continue. Once its over, they will surrender peacefully.
Ah, but things are never quite that simple, are they? The US troops soon get involved in the revelry, much to the dismay of Cash. The two camps team up to get him stone drunk, and unbeknownst to the Italian Captain Oppo (Sergio Fantoni) they stick him in bed with the drunken mayor’s daughter (and Oppo’s squeeze) Gina (Giovanna Ralli).
With that, the deal is off. The two sides however soon discover that they are both in serious trouble, and have to stage a mock battle in order to fake the recon flights and the soon-arriving intelligence officer Pott (Harry Morgan) into believing the surrender was well fought.
Well, enter “not so simple” again as the Germans roll into town, taking both sides prisoner. Much more hilarity ensues as they discover an underground series of catacombs, which Pott gets lost in and goes crazy….
Yeah, its just a whole lot of fun. Think Pink Panther meets M*A*S*H crossed with Jerry Lewis. I really can’t think of any more to say about it. It doesn’t really take itself seriously at any point, and it looks like the principals really enjoyed their work here. Until a couple weeks ago I’d never heard of this film, and I have to say I will watch What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? again, just for fun.
Keep an eye out for Colonel Kastorp (Leon Askin), you might rememeber him better as General Burkhalter from Hogan’s Heroes. Also of note is Edward’s screenwriting partner, William Peter Blatty, who would go on to pen “The Exorcist” and also write and direct the excellent “The Exorcist III”.
Summary: Yeah, its just a whole lot of fun. Think Pink Panther meets M*A*S*H crossed with Jerry Lewis. I really can't think of any more to say about it. It doesn't really take itself seriously at any point, and it looks like the principals really enjoyed their work here. Until a couple weeks ago I'd never heard of this film, and I have to say I will watch What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? again, just for fun.