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It’s 1916 and British Captain Fred Roberts (Ben Chaplin, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, The Thin Red Line) and his detachment discover an abandoned printing press in the ruins of Ypres, Belgium. Roberts has an idea – he will produce a newspaper to raise the spirits of his soldiers, taking their minds off “the attentions of Messrs Hun and Co.” They call it The Wipers Times – after the army slang for Ypres – and fill it with spoofs, jokes, and subversive comedy. A hit with the troops on the Western Front, it also incurs the wrath of top brass who want it banned. Can Roberts’ comic distraction to the mayhem of war survive?

Based on the remarkable true story of a satirical newspaper published on the front lines of World War One, this poignant yet comedic drama revels in the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity, telling for the first time how these inspirational men used humor and wit to remain sane amidst one of the deadliest conflicts in modern history.


“The Wipers Times” is about how humor can get people through anything. Unfortunately, this difficult time is World War I and the Generals are getting pissed about this underground humor magazine. The British Captains that are struggling to do their best to fight and kill the Hun, need to take their minds away from atrocities such as Verdun. It’s just what can you do on the Western front? Not everything needs to be so serious.

Michael Palin deserves an Award for branching out of his comfort zone and developing a strong sense of character in wartime drama. Palin presents both sides of the argument for the paper. However, there is still a case to be made for saving the unit instead of raising spirits. After all, most of these men are going to come back maimed or suffering from Spanish Flu. Not everything is so damn rosy.

The DVD comes with no special features. The A/V Quality is pretty strong for a British war dramedy movie. The Dolby track is supportive with its surround design. However, the transfer feels flat and blotchy during night scenes. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to the curious.

RELEASE DATE: 07/15/2014


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