By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
I’d only seen two John Boorman films when I drew Hope and Glory in my weekly classic movie raffle. Those two movies? Deliverance and Zardoz. Hope and Glory? A childhood memoir. So… how was this going to go?
About as well as the costume design for Zardoz, I hope
Hope and Glory is an autobiographical account of a young boy’s experiences during the London Blitz, as he watches the effect of the war on both his family members and his formerly safe, comfortable neighborhood.
Suffice it to say, this is nothing like the graphic John Boorman I’d been led to expect. However, don’t start queuing up the Sunday School VCR just yet. Boorman makes up for it with enough sex and innuendo to choke a horse, which is not itself an innuendo, I promise.
Settle down, Seabiscuit
That’s not what I’m toasting here, though, but rather the way Boorman doesn’t gloss over any of the civilian experience during World War II, showing not only the loss, fear, shortages & struggles, but how exciting and even sometimes just plain fun things could be. It’s realistic, even if you never see it in other films. People find a way.
Or lose fingers
Boorman and cinematographer Philippe Rousselot (A River Runs Through It) also shoot a hell of a gorgeous film, with some scenes reminiscent of sweeping studio lot epics like Gone With the Wind and others (the dream sequences) like something out of wartime classics of yesteryear like All Quiet on the Western Front. There’s also a surprising amount of choreography present, as Boorman employs several action-packed long and tracking shots. It’s a consistently great-looking film.
It’s also a comedy, and this is where it falls short. Don’t get me wrong, this film is often funny, but it’s also full of cheesy, overblown humor that you can only groan at. Dancing hand-in-hand with that is way too much overacting from several folks, but one in particular.
I’m looking at you, Dearie
The humor in particular hasn’t aged terribly well, but this is still a quality drama and poignant story of life during wartime.
Take a Drink: whenever the older sister acts like a complete nutjob
Take a Drink: for every radio speech or news report
Take a Drink: whenever someone else does
Take a Drink: for adorably British cursewords
Do a Shot: for every bombing