Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Churchill: The Hollywood Years (2004)
So the website where I purchased this DVD for the princely sum of $3.88 had this as the description of the film: American movie moguls are producing a movie about World War II. Following the first day of shooting, an ambitious executive discovers that their 'lead' is an old guy with a cigar, so they decide to replace him with a far more sellable leading man: the star of their most recent film - the tactfully entitled 'PUMP!'."
Maybe there's a cut of this film where that's actually the plot - and it is certainly a much better match to its title - but it's not what happens in the movie I just watched. Instead, the framing story presented here was the son of the real Winston Churchill - who was an American GI who single-handedly saved the UK from Nazi Conquest and impregnated then-Princess Elizabeth in the process - demanding to know why history believes that his father was some fat old English guy.
Now I expect that 90% of the content of the film - which takes place in London in 1940 - would be the same, regardless of the framing device, but given the absurdity of said content, I imagine that the version from the website description would work a bit better overall. "Adolf Hitler was a house guest in Buckingham Palace during the Blitz" makes a lot more sense as the result of ridiculous executive meddling than it does as the real history.
Not that working a bit better would be enough to save the film. I mean, it's obviously intended as a parody of films like U-571 and Pearl Harbor, which ascribe to Americans the heroics of other peoples, but it seems like its only idea in this regard is to just exaggerate such tendencies a thousand fold. Other than that it's all Carry On style silliness of the most tired sort.
There are some bloopers at the end which suggest that the cast were having fun, but I doubt too many people in the audience will be.