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The Brylcreem Boys

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Gabriel Byrne - The Brylcreem Boys

Total DVD - January 2000
Voted one of the 'UK's Greatest DVDs' (Ranked with Titanic and Twelve Monkeys)

Total DVD - December 1999
"Providing a heart-warming, romantic and humorous look at WWII, this is a thoroughly enjoyable treat."
Total DVD Hot Disc - 8/10

DVD Review - Special Edition
"The Brylcreem Boys surprisingly reveals itself to be a small gem of a film, with a great cast and plenty of gentle humour."
Chosen as one of the 'Five Best of British DVDs'.

What's On TV
"A sparkling cast, a clutch of classy performances and meticulous attention to detail are the hallmarks of this unique comedy drama. William McNamara excels as an eccentric Yank in the RAF and Gabriel Byrne's camp commandant and Oliver Tobias's senior German officer are also played to perfection. Happily, the movie never succumbs to easy parody and the elegant ending packs a real life emotional punch."

Empire Magazine - May 1999
Britain's leading film magazine

"Based loosely on real life events, The Brylcreem Boys takes place in an internment camp during World War II. Set aside by a "neutral" Ireland to both Allied and German prisoners, tensions begin to arise when ace German pilot Von Stegenbeck (MacFadyen), arrives in the same camp as Myles Keogh (Campbell), the American pilot he shot down.

With the Isle of Man doubling for Ireland, the direction makes use of its sweeping vistas as two sets of prisoner’s wage a war of attrition in the best traditions of Escape to Victory.

Owing to the eccentric rules of camp commandant O’Brien (Byrne), prisoners are allowed out on day-release passes, allowing a love triangle to develop between MacFadyen, Campbell and newcomer Jean Butler as Mattie Guerin.

Through these two obvious romantic difficulties, the two men learn to understand and appreciate the futility of the war and begin to devise a plan of escape.

A strong supporting cast, including Joe McGann as beastly Captain Duigan and comic light relief from William McNamara as nutball Sam Gunn, provide a marvellous distraction. But problems begin to arise when director Ryan decides to tackle "difficult" subjects such as Allied-Irish-German relations, something, which seems ill-at-ease with the overall light-hearted tone of the film.

The Brylcreem Boys (an indigenous nickname for the grease-haired convicts) may gloss over more important issues in favour of Dad's Army style humour, but a sparkling performance from Byrne and the mad-as-a-dog McNamara help to turn what could’ve been a dreary trawl through history into an unexpected pleasure."

* * * ( 3 stars)

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Loaded Magazine - May 1999
"Clever Stuff. An original slant on the POW movie based on actual events, with definite nods to the brilliant Stalag 17 and The Great Escape....Truly this the sport of kings."
7.5 out of 10

The Sun
Dad's Army meets Colditz with a dash of hot romance. A perfectly pleasing British made drama with a lot of charm.
** out of ***

Yorkshire Evening Post
Based on fact with a dash of artistic license thrown in, Terence Ryan's film explores the tensions, friendships and bizarre atmosphere of the situation which placed enemy next to enemy in an artificial world, sectioned off from the real battles of the war. It is a fascinating study of duty versus human compassion, as both sides watch and taunt each other from either sides of the barbed wire fence in the camp, then drink pints of Guinness from the same bar in the evening. Even the escape attempts are given a light hearted touch, and this film shows an incisive understanding of human nature which makes for a truly enjoyable film.
**** out of *****

Women's Realm - Film of the Week
A thoroughly enjoyable mix of romance, adventure and humour.

The Cambridge Journal
A delightful British made drama with a lot to recommend it. It has a strong cast of well-known faces, and it is set in beautiful countryside. But by far it's strongest attraction is the extraordinary true story it tells. The film develops a rich seam of humour and such Irish eccentricity, but also shows the utterly bizarre
situation the allied prisoners found themselves in. While their own island just across the water was at war being bombed and suffering severe rationing as a result here, the soldiers - although prisoners - were on a cushy number. This is a thoroughly enjoyable film.

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Interview with
Jean Butler.

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