02 September 2011

A Less than Lovely War


Even in the playgrounds of Lower Hutt, Peter Watkins’s 1965 docudrama The War Game was discussed with alarm. And we had only heard the terrifying trailer. The film portrays Britain before, during and after a nuclear attack. Originally made by Watkins for BBC, the governors of the Beeb got the heebie-geebies. They said it was unsuitable for a mass audience and banned it from broadcast. After an outcry, it was released to cinemas.

Variety describes The War Game as “grim, gruesome, horrific and realistic … the most telling part is the aftermath of the bomb – the severely burned are killed off and their bodies burned, and looters face the firing squad.”

Even though there was no hope of seeing it mid-60s New Zealand, just knowing about it almost kept me awake. Now it can be viewed via the always-worthwhile site The Documentarian.

1 comment:

tony larsen said...

The War Game showed in theatres in NZ in ’67 as far as I can recall.
I skipped (Hagley High) school with two friends to see an afternoon session at the Regent in Christchurch, despite the principal’s explicit ban. We went back to school expecting to be snapped at the gate and made examples of, but either no-one noticed or our (more liberal-minded) class teachers decided to let us off the hook.
Have just seen his (re-released 2008 dvd) Privilege (from ARO Video) and spotted that one of the scenes had been borrowed and made over for I’m Not There, the multi-facet Dylan pic.
And, by-the-by, the your book (and associated radio shows) are a fantastic effort – thanks for the hard work involved.