German Release dateAugust 31, 1966 (1966-08-31) WriterWilliam Peter Blatty (screenplay), Blake Edwards (story), Maurice Richlin (story) Music directorHenry Mancini, Jay Livingston, Ray Evans CastJames Coburn (Lieutenant Christian), Dick Shawn (Captain Lionel Cash), Sergio Fantoni (Captain Oppo), Giovanna Ralli (Gina Romano), Aldo Ray (Sergeant Rizzo), Harry Morgan (Major Pott) Similar moviesSaving Private Ryan, Fury, The Thin Red Line, Max Manus: Man of War, Captain America: The First Avenger, Schindler's List
American officers Lt. Christian (James Coburn) and Capt. Cash (Dick Shawn) are among the soldiers ordered to take over a small town in Sicily during World War II. Remarkably, the townsfolk have no problem being occupied by the American troops they just want to ensure that their annual festival goes on as planned. With wine flowing freely, Christian, Cash and their peers soon get in over their heads, leading to lots of confusion on the part of both Allied and Axis forces.
What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? is a 1966 comedy film written by William Peter Blatty and directed by Blake Edwards for the Mirisch Company. It stars James Coburn and Dick Shawn.
A by-the-book Captain is ordered to capture a strategic village in Italy. The Italian soldiers are willing to surrender, if they can have a festival first. The lieutenant convinces the Captain this is the only way. Because of aerial reconnaissance, they must look like they are fighting. To sort this out an intelligence officer is sent in. Meanwhile the festival gets complicated with the Mayors daughter.
A wartime outfit of U.S. soldiers is assigned to capture a village in Sicily, but upon arrival, they discover that the town has been expecting them and will willingly turn itself over to the Americans rule, provided they are permitted to complete a soccer match and a wine festival.
Romance and frivolity ensue, as a reluctant, by-the-book Capt. Cash is persuaded by easy-going Lt. Christian to go along with the locals wishes. Mistaking an orgy for an attack, Germans come to the Italians aide, but the Americans accidentally end up conquering all.
James Coburn as Lieutenant Christian
Dick Shawn as Captain Lionel Cash
Sergio Fantoni as Captain Fausto Oppo
Giovanna Ralli as Gina Romano
Aldo Ray as Sergeant Rizzo
Harry Morgan as Major Pott
Carroll OConnor as General Bolt
Leon Askin as Colonel Kastorp
Rico Cattani as Benedetto (as Henry Rico Cattani)
Jay Novello as Mayor Romano
Ralph Manza as Waiter
Vito Scotti as Frederico
Johnny Seven as Vittorio
Art Lewis as Needleman
William Bryant as Minow
Kurt Kreuger as German Captain
The title of the film came to Edwards when asked the question by his son Geoffrey. As Edwards was having marital problems at the time he didnt want to leave the United States so Mirisch Productions agreed to film the movie in Lake Sherwood, California for $5 million that included the construction of a large Italian village set. In his study of Edwards, Myron Meisel stated that Coburn imitated Blake Edwards mannerisms throughout the film.
The film was the first of what was originally intended to be six Mirisch-Geoffrey Productions between Edwards and the Mirisch Company. Only one other film, The Party was completed.
William Peter Blatty recalled that he and Edwards originally agreed to make the film grim and without comedy for the first twenty minutes. This idea was shelved when during the scene where Captain Cash visits Charlie Company at their chow line he holds out his hand and one of the GI mess orderlys ladles beans into the Captains hand.
The score is by Henry Mancini. It includes "The Swing March" and the song "In the Arms of Love".