On the Fiddle

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On the Fiddle
On the Fiddle 1961 quad poster.jpg
Original UK quad size poster
Directed by Cyril Frankel
Produced by Benjamin Fisz
Screenplay by Harold Buchman
Based on Stop at a Winner (novel) 
by R.F. Delderfield
Starring Alfred Lynch
Sean Connery
Cecil Parker
Stanley Holloway
Music by Malcolm Arnold
Cinematography Edward Scaife
Edited by Peter Hunt
Production
company
Coronado Productions
Distributed by Anglo Amalgamated (UK)
Release dates
  • 10 October 1961 (1961-10-10) (UK)
Running time
86 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
"Operation Snafu" redirects here. For the 1970 film starring Jason Robards and Peter Falk, see Rosolino Paternò soldato.

On the Fiddle (released as Operation Snafu and Operation War Head in the United States) is a 1961 British comedy film directed by Cyril Frankel and starring Sean Connery, Alfred Lynch, Cecil Parker, Stanley Holloway, Eric Barker, Mike Sarne, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Kathleen Harrison, Victor Maddern and John Le Mesurier.

It was Sean Connery's tenth film, released the year before his big breakthrough as James Bond in the 1962 film Dr No.

Plot[edit]

During the Second World War, spiv Horace Pope is taken to court for street peddling. In mitigation he tells the judge he is only working in the black market while waiting to enlist in the war effort. On hearing this plea, the judge calls his bluff and forces him to sign up.

Pope joins the RAF. Very quickly he makes friends with the easy going, but loyal, Pedlar Pascoe who happily goes along with all of his scams. In time, the pair do their utmost to make a bit on the side and avoid being sent to the front lines.

However, their antics soon lead to them being sent on a mission to occupied France where they unexpectedly succeed with their offbeat actions.

Main cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

The film was adapted by Harold Buchman from the 1961 novel Stop at a Winner by R. F. Delderfield.

Filming[edit]

The fighting scenes in the woods were shot in and around "The Sandpit" on Horsell Common near Woking, Surrey. Interiors were completed at Shepperton Studios, Surrey.

US release[edit]

The US poster tried to make it seem more like a James Bond film than a comedy.

The film was not released in the United States until 21 May 1965, retitled "Operation Snafu"[1] and later "Operation War Head"[1] by the US distributor American International Pictures. The only purpose of the US release was to capitalise on the popularity of Sean Connery, who by then had become world famous as James Bond in Dr No, From Russia with Love and Goldfinger. The titles, as well as the advertising campaign, downplayed the comedic aspects of the film as well as Connery's original second-billing.

Reception[edit]

Reviewing the film in New York Times, following its 1965 US release, Howard Thompson noted that the release was "an obvious cash-in" on Connery's popularity as James Bond, but found it, "a friendly little wartime comedy from England." He wrote that, "The wonder is that a picture with a story already done, gag by gag, a hundred times is so easy to take. It is, though — flip, friendly, brisk and a wee bit cynical in its take-it-or-leave-it jauntiness", and concluded that, ''The film is familiar and trifling, but it's perky."[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b IMDb: On the Fiddle (1961) - Release Info Linked 2014-08-10
  2. ^ New York Times, May 22, 1965: Screen: 'Operation Snafu': Comedy and New Stage Show at Paramount Re-linked 2014-08-10

External links[edit]