Play at the Theatre Royal

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The stage production and the film differ from each other in many ways. The stage adaptation of the World War was more lighthearted and funny. It had a backdrop on which were projected harsh images of the war, but in sharp contrast, the action on the stage was more comic in nature. Attenborough’s film, however, had huge sequences of the war interspersed with motifs from the stage production. The stage play made use of Pierrot costumes, but the film did not make use of them. However, what was used in the film was the ‘cricket scoreboards’ that were used in the play, depicting the number of deaths that took place. The songs in the film are filled with dark comedy depicting the madness of the war. E.g. ‘When this Lousy war is over’ and Good-bye-ee.’ The songs though highly patriotic were masked by the irony that hides the hideousness and carnage of the war. One of the most memorable scenes shot by Attenborough for the film was a crane shot of the final sequence showing hundreds of graves, on a large expanse of land. This scene is highly charged with emotion and is sure to bring tears to one’s eyes.