Projections - Movie Reviews
Two Men Went to War
Two Men Went to War
Starring Kenneth Cranham  and Leo Bil

Two Men Went to War isn’t a winning comedy, but it stands out as an amiable, if slight diversion in a genre that has hardly gotten this goody in years.

Starring Kenneth Cranham and Leo Bill, directed by John Henderson from a story based on actual events and from a story called “Amateur Commandos,” the backdrop is 1942 and two British soldiers are assigned to the dental corps.

At the time morale in Great Britain was nearly bottoming out, and a gruff, has-been Sargent Peter King (Cranham) and newbie Private Cuthbertson (Bill) don’t just go AWOL. They have their own “little” invasion of France planned that will take out a German battleship with the right positioning of a hand grenade.

What does occur may not seem significant, but the raid eventually gets them noticed by Winston Churchill and their desertion will become offset by their “lunatic” celebrity. Cranham and Bill have a Laurel & Hardy sensibility even if they’re not that charming in a deadpan, often bickering rapport.

The screenplay is filled with a “Hogan’s Heroes” whimsy, as well as taut sequences like one involving a signal tower and a military train. But, Henderson has a difficult time maintaining a consistent mood as the two men teeter from the soldiers to the underground office of Churchill. Jacobi smugly emotes with heft as Churchill’s chief aide who gets to open the letter (one that’s been on its way to the Prime Minister from King about their secret mission).

The last act comes on a bit too strong, and one wishes that the action adhered more to those Studio pictures from Britain in the 50's. But the cinemascope presentation is very lush, especially in an English coastal village. Providing noticeable support opposite the men are Phylidda Law as Churchill’s devoted secretary and Rosanna Lavelle as the oddly appealing love interest for the simplistic Cuthbertson. The production has a distinguished, smooth quality and it serves its modest budget pretty well.

Two Men Went to War

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