Richard Lester Stanley Kauffmann - Essay

Stanley Kauffmann

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The least of Lester's early films] had scintillating moments, and the best of them are fireworks displays that spell out some secrets of our times. [How I Won the War] is Lester at his very best. (p. 30)

[The] script, filigreed with good wiry dialogue, serves as a fine trampoline for Lester. These are numerous "plants" of material—visual and verbal—to which later reference is made, too neatly modulated to be called running gags. There is a barrage of parodic transformations. For instance, a blimpish colonel gives the lieutenant a gung-ho speech in a dugout. When the camera pulls back at the end of his exhortation, the dugout—suddenly—is on a stage, and the curtain descends as the...

(The entire section is 523 words.)