2 May 2011 | MartinHafer
A decent little comedy but it deserves a much better DVD print
This film is on DVD from Televista and unfortunately the print is very poor. While it is a color film, the print is very yellow and appears as if it was transferred from a videotape. In addition, like many foreign films from the 1950s, it's dubbed into English and has no subtitles. Also, "Always Victorious" seems to have a bazillion different titles--such as "The Cannon" and "Cannon Serenade" among others.
This film is set during the time that Italy was still allied with Germany during WWII. Vittorio De Sica plays the captain of a very, very small commercial boat. Oddly, despite its tiny size, he's just been ordered to have a tiny cannon installed on the front for coastal defense. However, when they soon encounter a British sub, the Brits think this is hilarious and don't even bother to waste a torpedo on the boat. However, when this is reported, the Germans behave as if this is some sort of victory and De Sica is a minor hero--though he and his crew did absolutely nothing. However, this new attention begins to convince the crew that they ARE a formidable craft and some of them actually look forward to further action--even though they haven't a prayer. Seeing the Captain suddenly resplendent in a beautiful white uniform is pretty funny.
In some ways, this is reminiscent of the American film "Operation Petticoat" because it looks at war from a very pragmatic and less than heroic viewpoint. I guess by the late 1950s it was safe to poke fun of the war! While "Always Victorious" is very good, it's not as good as the American film--but is still well worth seeing. It's just a shame the print is so lousy and there's that stupid dubbing.
By the way, in one scene De Sica is standing in a bar with a giant movie poster on the wall next to him---for one of his films! And his name is clearly written on the poster.