This movie is well made, but who would want to watch films this dreadfully depressing and dull?! Well, I decided to see it even though I had no idea what the film was about--if I had, I might have skipped it. So why did I choose this film? Well, I really enjoy seeing Peter Sellers' films, though I will admit that his output varied tremendously--with quite a few inexplicable duds buried within some brilliant films. So, the idea that he would choose to be in a film like this didn't surprise me at all--I know that categorizing the projects he chose defies common-sense. He simply did what he wanted to do or what made him money when his cash flow was low.
The film starts off during D-Day. A group of laborers conscripted by the Nazis have taken shelter from the bombings in what turns out to be a German supply depot. Soon after, one of the bombs hits--sealing them in at about 100 feet below ground. To make things worse, the walls are seemingly impregnable. But, on the positive side, there are tons and tons of supplies--candles, foods and wine. And, because air inexplicably makes it inside the shelter (which, oddly, the men really did not investigate further for a very long time), they survive there for years AFTER the war has ended. In fact, almost the entirety of the film consists of watching the men coping with these claustrophobic subterranean conditions...and then, slowly dying off one after another!! Then, they continue in darkness for four more dreadful years--thankfully, though, this part is skipped in the film but explained in a super-depressing epilogue. It's supposed to be a true story about perseverance but the story seems completely made up--and I could find nothing on the internet to verify that this story ever actually occurred. Plus, I don't want to see such a story, thank you very much. It was just dreadful, depressing and awful. Sure, the acting was generally pretty good, but that alone is NOT enough reason to watch this film. Life is too short to watch films like this.
By the way, although I said I saw it because of Sellers, he was NOT the entire film--just one of several characters. Those who praise only his performance seem to be forgetting the work of the rest of these very capable actors.
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