1969 – Oh! What A Lovely War

★★★★☆ UK. 2h24m. War / Comedy / Musical. Directed by Richard Attenborough. Written by Len Deighton (screenplay) and Gerry Raffles, Joan Littlewood (“The Long Long Trail”) and Charles Chilton (“The Long Long Trail”). Cinematography by Gerry Turpin. Edited by Kevin Connor. Starring Maggie Smith, Dirk Bogarde, John Gielgud, Wendy Allnutt, Colin Farrell, Malcolm McFee, John Rae, Corin Redgrave, Maurice Roëves, Paul Shelley, Kim Smith, Angela Thorne, Mary Wimbush, Vincent Ball, Pia Colombo, Paul Daneman, Isabel Dean, Christian Doermer.

Oh! What a Lovely War summarises and comments on the events of World War I using popular songs of the time, many of which were parodies of older popular songs, and using allegorical settings such as Brighton’s West Pier to criticise the manner in which the eventual victory was won.

1965 – Othello

★★★★☆ UK. 2h45m. Drama. Directed by Stuart Burge. Written by William Shakespeare (“Othello”). Cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth. Edited by Richard Marden. Music by Richard Hampton. Starring Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Joyce Redman, Frank Finlay, Derek Jacobi, Robert Lang, Kenneth Mackintosh, Anthony Nicholls, Sheila Reid, Edward Hardwicke, Michael Gambon.

Starred Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Joyce Redman, and Frank Finlay, who all received Oscar nominations, and provided film debuts for both Derek Jacobi and Michael Gambon. The film retains most of Shakespeare’s original play, and does not change the order of scenes, as do Olivier’s Hamlet and Richard III. The only major omission is the Fool’s scene, although other minor lines are cut here and there (the stage version contained more of the play than the film did).