Puckoon, a small Irish Village, is divided when there's some confusion about where the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland lies.
Although Spike Milligan's humour readily found expression on the radio, as well as on our TV and cinema screens, the eccentric dexterity of his first novel resolutely refuses to budge from the page, despite the estimable efforts of writer-director Terence Ryan.
Employing Richard Attenborough as an all-seeing narrator, the opening section positively fizzes with surreal wordplay, gleeful character quirks and throwaway one-liners as we discover the plight of an Irish village that has been rent asunder by the border divisions of 1924.
But once the dictates of narrative kick in, the comedy becomes broader (in a Tom Sharpe kind of way) and the action is hijacked by confused coffins, officious occupying Brits and incompetent IRA gunmen disguised as Roman soldiers. The ensemble excels itself with its Oirishry but, with everyone trying so hard, Milligan's lunacy gets lost in the melee.
Milligan's humour does not quite translate to the big screen as the action becomes confused and the narrative gets lost in all of the loveable irsh buffoonary.