Wake Me Up When The War Is Over
Comedy, War | 74 Mins | Released: 1969
Director: Gene Nelson
Starring: Ken Berry, Eva Gabor, Werner Klemperer, Danielle De Metz, Hans Conried, Jim Backus, Alan Hewitt
Our Rating: 6
Wake Me Up When The War Is Over tells the story of Lieutenant Roger Carrington (Berry), a soldier fighting for the United States Air Force during the closing days of World War II. After accidentally falling out of a plane and landing in German territory, he is hidden by a local baroness named Marlene (Gabor). Luckily, Marlene is against the Nazis, and sympathizes with Carrington, taking him under her wing to recover, and eventually falling in love with him.
Unfortunately, when World War II ends, Marlene realizes that Carrington will leave when he finds this out. Not wanting him to go yet, she decides not to tell him about the war ending so he will stay, and she manages to keep him with her for nearly five years. Around then is when Carrington convinces himself that it’s his duty to continue fighting and he leaves Marlene’s estate, not realizing he’s now in a peacetime country. The only problem is, no one can tell him the war is over because no one around him speaks English including the Baroness’ maid Eva who accompanies him.
This classic farce was a vehicle for a stable of TV sitcom stars to score some summer work. What a DELIGHT! Ken Berry (F-Troop / Mayberry RFD) as the Hapless American. Eva Gabor (Green Acres) as the scheming baroness. Werner Klemperer (Hogan’s Heroes) as the jealous mayor. And a fine supporting TV cast including Hans Conried (Snidley Whiplash) and Jim Backus (Gilligans Island /Mr. Magoo). OK, so the screwball twists don’t reach the comic mastery of BLAZING SADDLES or BRINGING UP BABY, and the sets are definitely TV budget, but I said it’s a CUTE little movie, not Oscar material. If you find it in a dollar bin or a friend’s DVD pile, by all means enjoy yourself some evening.
A Commentary on Hogan’s Heroes
Author: theowinthrop – 15 August 2006
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a mildly amusing comedy that was made for television in 1969 and starred Eva Gabor, Ken Berry, and Werner Klemperer. In a sense, it suggests what might have happened under certain circumstances to Col. Robert Hogan at the hands of Col. Wilhelm Klink if Hogan’s activities came to Klink’s attention in 1946, but Hogan was in some kind of difficulties that Klink could use against him. Klemperer plays Mayor Erich Mueller, a dedicated Nazi official, who only had one failure in his wartime career that rankled. He was certain that an allied airman was in the area near his city, and that he should have been captured. But he did not find the airman. And with reason. This airman was Lieutenant Robert Carrington (Ken Berry) who stumbled into the estate of Baroness Marlene (Eva Gabor). Lonely ever since her husband died (although Mueller has occasionally shown some distinct interest towards her), the Baroness hides Carrington, and he becomes her toy boy. Basically, he is kept “imprisoned” by her from late 1943 to 1946. You see, she makes sure he does not hear any English spoken radio telling about the Nazis surrendering, and when he asks what is being said in German she explains the Nazis have invaded England (and been beaten back two or three times). The Baroness decides to hire some needy former Wehrmacht soldiers to come at night, and double check the house (always missing Carrington), every two or three months. As Pooh-Bah would have said, merely corroborative detail to enhance a bald and uninteresting narrative. Unfortunately, one night they run into Mueller. Now he is a minor fugitive – being a former Nazi official he is subject to possible arrest. They tell him about the idiot Carrington and the Baroness’ scheme. Mueller is not pleased: after all he was right but the Baroness fooled him. But then, he decides to have some fun of his own. He watches while the Baroness goes to town. Then he goes to the house and confronts Carrington – not to kill him, but to get rid of him. Mueller pretends he is a member of the anti-Nazi underground and gives Carrington instructions of how to get to various rendezvous with underground agents. He also gives Carrington a Nazi uniform for a disguise (although Carrington can’t speak much German, remember?). So he sends the befuddled American off on a motorcycle in a uniform that causes everyone to stare in disbelief. This only convinces Carrington that he is in danger – so he goes to the addresses given him by Mueller (to the apartment of former Nazi Hans Conried, who pretends he is a suspicious underground leader interrogating Carrington). And so it goes until the conclusion when finally Carrington “is rescued” from the circle of ex-Nazis who are bedeviling him. As for the Baroness, she is resigned when the American leaves for the states at the end. She has a new, more willing boy toy in hiding: Mueller. Silly as it was, it was well acted and had a mad logic of it’s own. It was an amusing movie and gave Ken Berry a rare chance at a lead role in a film. It also gave Klemperer a kind of finale for the career of Col. Wilhelm Klink.