Eight mismatched, unwilling Italian combatants and a donkey land on a tiny Greek island in 1941 in order to capture it for Mussolini. If the film hadn't been made by Italians, you might have thought it racist: the eight are alternately stupid, cowardly, lazy and libidinous. They scream, over-react, and fire at chickens by mistake. One night they shoot the donkey when it won't say the password. The wireless operator, whose beast it is, smashes the radio. Their battleship is blown up in the bay. No one knows where they are, and for them the war is over. Gradually, Attic transformation takes place. The hidden islanders emerge: compliant shepherdesses disrobe, the artistic lieutenant restores the frescoes in the church, breasts are bared physically and emotionally, and everyone tries Greek dancing. It isn't really together enough to be an anti-war film: there's no historical or philosophical background, no depth, nothing but sun, sand, saccharine and a stirring bouzouki score, and the surprisingly bitter epilogue doesn't begin to redress the balance.
Cast and crew