What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? carries an engaging title but after dreaming it up the writers promptly forgot all about it and launched into a thinly-devised comedy without much substance.
Blake Edwards, who directs, also collabed on original story with Maurice Richlin. Set against a World War II backdrop – Sicily, 1943 – the screenplay dwells on a single situation which holds promise but is never sufficiently realized.
Basic idea has a war-weary American company, commanded by a by-the-book officer, being detailed to take a town held by a large Italian force, and their welcome reception by the Italians who are agreeable to surrendering willingly. But first, they must hold their wine festival. No festival, no surrender.
Edwards has packed his action with a flock of individual gags and routines but frequently the viewer isn’t too certain what’s happening. Director draws good comedy portrayals from a talented cast headed by James Coburn and Dick Shawn, both delivering bangup performances.