What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ February 5, 2013
Silly farce is loaded with talent and a jovial mood.
October 24, 2010
A steady stream of wacky war comedies began in the late 1950s - "Mister Roberts," "Operation Petticoat," "Wackiest Ship in the Army, " "Ensign Pulver" "No Time for Sergeants," "Don't Go Near the Water" & "The Teahouse of the August Moon" as well as TV sitcoms "Sgt. Bilko," "Hennessy" and "McHale's Navy," culminating in the satiric/comedic message of "M*A*S*H". This film does not truly rank among them.

Two companies - one of Italian soldiers, one American - find themselves wanting to sit out the end of WWII in a small, welcoming Sicilian village. But they'll have to keep their naive, by-the-book, supposedly-in-charge American Captain (Shawn) fooled and distracted by an Italian beauty - and also fool both the American and German armies - to pull it off. Luckily, fools abound.

The cake has all the right ingredients stirred into the batter: production and storyline from Blake Edwards ("The Pink Panther," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Days of Wine and Roses"), co-stars Carroll O'Connor (aka Archie Bunker) and Henry Morgan (aka M*A*S*H's Colonel Potter), screenwriting from William Peter Blatty ("The Exorcist"), score/song from Henry Mancini, strong supporting talents, and Panavision icing. Still, somehow, it just doesn't bake up all that well.

What's glaringly absent from this film - and NOT missing from those other war comedies - is sly/clever/witty dialogue. Rather this film over-relies on mediocre situational comedy and shtick: Shawn cross-dressing a la "Some Like It Hot," Morgan lost in a maze of catacombs, drunken brawling, nursing the hungover, quarreling/shouting in Italian, a German officer dead in flagrante delicto, and so forth.

Another shortcoming is Shawn's miscasting. He's simply not strong enough to overcome the weak banter, leaving James Coburn, as his scheming Lieutenant, standing alone in the battlefield to try to deliver most of the comedic heavy lifting.

RECOMMENDATION: Die-hard fans of classic 50s/60s war comedies probably won't be able to resist, but lowered expectations are well advised.
August 6, 2012
This is a fantastic movie. A great cast, a great story, and a funny situation. Harry Morgan is outrageous! Everyone should see this movie.
December 17, 2011
This one is hilarious.
December 7, 2011
OK, so the plot is absolutely absurd, and one may wonder whether the writer and director had been drunk the whole time ... But it really is a very funny movie!
½ November 1, 2010
A Blake Edwards comedy? From the man who brought us the Pink Panther series, this film was distressingly not funny, not amusing, not even interesting. Even with music score by Henri Mancini and screenplay by William Peter Blatty (author of The Exorcist) plus a cast including James Coburn, Carol O'Conner, Henry Morgan... this film is ridiculous.

Comedy master? Blake Edwards weaves his wacky madness? in this first-rate? WWII story of a by-the-book Captain (Dick Shawn) who is ordered to take over a troop of misfit soldiers led by Lieutenant James Coburn.

This one failed to impress me as a comedy or anything else.
Not a violent WWII movie or anything close, its just pure fantasy tale of what might have happened in Italy during the war.

James Coburn
Sergio Fantoni
Aldo Ray
Dick Shawn

Screenplay: William Peter Blatty
Executive Producer: Owen Crump
Production Designer: Fernando Carrere
Associate Producer: Dick Crockett
Director: Blake Edwards
Producer: Blake Edwards
Story by: Blake Edwards
Cinematographer: Philip H. Lathrop
Composer: Henry Mancini
Story by: Maurice Richlin
Editor: Ralph E. Winters
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