Churchill the Hollywood Years Cover Did you know Winston Churchill's full name is in fact Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, PC, DL, FRS, Hon. RA? And that he was also the only British Prime Minister that served twice, not in consecutive concession? Oh! One minute. I almost forgot something. He was an action-hero too. Honest. I saw it in this film Directed by Peter Richardson; and Starring: Christian Slater, Neve Campbell, Anthony Sher, Harry Enfield, Rik Mayall, and Leslie Phillips. It was made in 2004 and lasted for 84-minutes.

Churchill the Hollywood Years

His comrade in arms -- Roosevelt (Henry Goodman) -- thinks of him as a brother. Pompous British Army Captain -- Baxter (Rik Mayall) -- thinks that he's a right tosser. Irish cockney -- Jim Jim Charoo (Mackenzie Crook) -- just loves to have him around. Where as the future head-honcho -- Princess Elizabeth (Neve Campbell) -- falls for Winston Churchill (Christian Slater) like a ton of bricks.

Yes. That's right. I said 'Winston Churchill'. The all-American army Lieutenant who has come over to England in 1940, to win the war for old Blighty!

And it's a good job that he does, too. Because guess who else has also come to England at this precise moment in time? No. Not Lord W'ruff (Leslie Phillips). This unscrupulous secret Nazi sympathiser is already here. And no. It isn't Charlie Chaplin either. Although some people have mistaken German Chancellor -- Adolf Hitler (Anthony Sher) -- for him on occasion. But not his gal-pal -- Eva Braun (Miranda Richardson) -- mores the pity.

Still, what do you think happens when Hitler and Winston come face to face at the home of tight fisted monarch, King George VI (Harry Enfield)? Do they both sit down and have a nice cup of tea together? Or does that poor b*stard Winston get shot at and have to make a run for it before he's turned into a profiterole?

Correct. BANG! BANG! He runs.

Though that's most probably why what next transpires all kicks off when Roosevelt goes state-side, and the crown is locked-up in a dungeon and left to stew. As alliances try to tie the knot - royal trains hit the right spot - battles are hard and mean - and Winston eventually does save the Queen.

Plus son?

I'm a big fan of old gangster movies: Dick Tracy, The Public Enemy, and Gangster Squad. I even wear old time hollywood style gangster hats when I head out. I own a classic black fedora, a stylish burgundy homburg hat, and a chocolate derby. And to be honest with you, dear reader. none of what I just said means shit when it comes to this film. Film critique, Phillip French, from the English newspaper 'The Observer' called this comedy, 'a hit and miss affair'. And do you know what? He's right on the money, baby!

Churchill Vs Hitler
You see, in my eyes 'Churchill - The Hollywood Years' is what I would call a good / bad movie. On the one hand, all the member's of the cast are great, the production is spot-on, and the overall ambiance is very appropriate for this type of broad-piece. Whilst, on the other hand, the story is mumbled in places, the structure is sketch-like in nature, and the overall narrative -- though cleverly conceived -- comes across like a ten inch pill made out of cork. Very hard to swallow.

Listen, I do not want to sound rude to any of the main players involved with this flick, but -- alas -- this 'Comic Strip Presents' slanted production, just hasn't got that balls to 'push the boundaries' that has it done in the past.

Leslie Phillips
Hey! Maybe these filmic-facts may help me figure out why? (1) Although he has been dead for quite some time now, the real Winston Churchill got his first 'actors' credit on this flick, playing the part of Roy Bubbles in archived form. (2) The running joke where Adolf Hitler kept on being mistaken for Charlie Chaplin; was inspired by the 'Little Tramp' movie, 'The Great Dictator'. (3) This production was filmed between the 24th of March and the 12th of May, 2003. (4) The director, Peter Richardson, stated that the scene where Churchill and Eisenhower exit the British War Office, was somehow very relevant to the Iraq War. (5) The real Winston Churchill was half-American and half-British. His mother, Jennie, was born in Brooklyn in 1854, and was the granddaughter of Leonard Jerome, a New York State Assemblyman. (6) Another running joke in this movie was inspired by the lyrical slur of "Hitler Has Only Got One Ball" as sung to the show-tune of 'Colonel Bogey March'. (7) Jim Jim Charoo's name derives from the song Dick van Dyke sung in the musical, 'Mary Poppins'. (8) The "Irish Cockney" reference is a spoof of the 'steerage passengers' in the 'Titanic' movie. (9) Even though most of this picture was filmed at the Royal William Yard, Stonehouse, Plymouth, the old fish quay at Brixham, Devon, doubles for Plymouth Docks. Whereas the Oldway Mansion in Paignton, also in Devon, doubles for Buckingham Palace, and was once the home of sewing machine millionaire, Isaac Singer. And (10) Peter Richardson was supposed to have been in the sit-com 'The Young Ones', with Rik Mayall, who plays Baxter in this film.

The Queen And Hitler

No. None of those facts help with anything, do they? Shame really. As I would have liked for 'Churchill - The Hollywood Years' to been more focused as a whole. Instead, it only really works in part -- within the scenes -- due to the fact that the 'individual sketches' are much more stronger than the complete package. Check out this clip to see what I mean...

See? Wasn't Harry just great as the King? And the same can be said for all of the other actors too, reinforcing the story as best they can. However, that's precisely what lets this comedy down -- the story -- because just like the King, it mumbles, it fumbles, and in essence, comes across like a modern day version of a 'Carry On' film, with less of the magic, and more of the bump.

Bugger. I feel like a right git now for saying all of that. Though maybe I could redeem myself by plugging another 'Comic Strip' slated comedy here - 'The Hunt For Tony Blair' (click on the link for the review) -- might work? What do you say guys?

Sod you then.


CHURCHILL - THE HOLLYWOOD YEARS CHURCHILL - THE HOLLYWOOD YEARS Reviewed by David Andrews on December 18, 2012 Rating: 5
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