πŸŽ₯ The Way Ahead – 1944

The Story …

In the days after the Dunkirk evacuation in the Second World War, recently commissioned Second Lieutenant Jim Perry (Niven), a pre-war Territorial private soldier, is posted to the (fictional) Duke of Glendon’s Light Infantry, known as the “Dogs”, to train replacements to fill its depleted ranks.

He is joined by Sergeant Ned Fletcher (Hartnell), a veteran of the British Expeditionary Force.

In contrast to Perry, the rest of the squad is shocked to have been conscripted into the army. Evan Lloyd, an unscrupulous rent collector, Sid Beck (Leslie Dwyer), a travel agent, Geoffrey Stainer (Jimmy Hanley), a friend of Lloyd’s, Ted Brewer (Stanley Holloway), a plumber working in parliament, Herbert Davenport (Raymond Huntley), a department store manager with his young employee Bill Parsons (Hugh Burden) and finally Scottish farm labourer Luke (John Laurie) …

A patient, mild-mannered officer, Perry does his strenuous best to turn the bunch of grumbling ex-civilians into soldiers, earning himself their intense dislike.

The conscripts also mistakenly believe that their drill sergeant Fletcher is treating them harshly due to a minor incident where Lloyd spilt tea on the older man. Lloyd decides to air this grievance with Perry by reporting Fletcher for being unfair to the squad.

When Perry approaches Fletcher over Lloyd’s accusation, Fletcher in fact discloses that he is pleased with the way they are developing and even goes so far as to state that a few of the men (including Lloyd) could be future NCOs.

When Parsons appears to desert his post, Perry takes a kindly stance with the young man and learns that his wife is being threatened by debt collectors. Perry speaks up for the young man at his court martial and he is allowed to rejoin the unit.

The other men go on a training exercise and to “avenge” Perry’s treatment of Parsons they sabotage the war game bringing shame on the battalion. Perry angrily rebukes the men who afterwards learn that Parsons was saved by Perry.

Eventually, the men come to respect both Sergeant Fletcher and Perry.

After completing their training, the battalion is transferred to North Africa to face Rommel’s Afrika Korps, but their troopship is torpedoed en route and they are forced to abandon ship.

When Sergeant Fletcher is trapped below deck by a burning vehicle, both Perry and Private Luke (John Laurie) intervene and work to save him. The survivors are evacuated to a nearby destroyer and are taken to Gibraltar, missing the invasion entirely.

When they eventually arrive in North Africa, the platoon is assigned to guard a small town. Perry appropriates a cafe as his headquarters, much to the disgust of the pacifist owner, Rispoli (Peter Ustinov).

He instructs the men to respect the cafe owner and the men form a bond after playing darts and allowing Rispoli to join in. When the Germans attack, Perry and his men fiercely defend their positions, aided by Rispoli.

As the battle seems to turn, the Germans approach the British position under a white flag and invite Perry to surrender to save his men. Perry through his interpreter Beck tells the Germans to “Go to Hell!”.

The besieged British soldiers fix bayonets and join other surviving units in advancing on the enemy, hidden in the smoke from explosions. The film ends with two veteran “Dogs” appreciatively reading about the men’s bravery …

Credits :

  • Directed by Carol Reed
  • Written by Eric Ambler and Peter Ustinov
  • Produced by John Sutro,Β  Norman Walker and Stanley Haynes
  • Cinematography : Guy Green
  • Edited by Fergus McDonell
  • Music by William Alwyn
  • Production Company : Two Cities Films
  • Distributed by General Film Distributors
  • Release Date : 9 June 1944

Cast :

  • David Niven as Lieutenant Jim Perry
  • William Hartnell as Sergeant Ned Fletcher
  • Hugh Burden as Private Bill Parsons
  • James Donald as Private, later Corporal, Evan Lloyd
  • Leslie Dwyer as Private Sid Beck
  • Jimmy Hanley as Private Geoffrey Stainer
  • Stanley Holloway as Private Ted Brewer
  • Raymond Huntley as Private Herbert Davenport
  • John Laurie as Private Luke
  • Penelope Dudley-Ward as Mrs Jim Perry
  • Grace Arnold as Mrs Ned Fletcher
  • Esma Cannon as Mrs Ted Brewer
  • Eileen Erskine as Mrs Bill Parsons
  • Peter Ustinov as Rispoli, cafe owner
  • Reginald Tate as the Training CompanyΒ Commanding Officer
  • Leo Genn as Captain Edwards
  • RenΓ©e Asherson as Marjorie Gillingham
  • Mary Jerrold as Mrs Gillingham
  • Jack Watling as Sergeant Buster
  • Raymond Lovell as Mr Jackson
  • A. E. Matthews as Colonel Walmsley
  • Lloyd Pearson as Sam Thyrtle
  • John Ruddock as Old Chelsea Soldier
  • A. Bromley Davenport as Old Chelsea Soldier
  • Tessie O’Shea as Herself
  • Trevor Howard as Ship’s Officer
  • George Merritt as the Sergeant-Major
  • Tracy Reed as the Perrys’ Daughter

Film Information Source :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Way_Ahead

Copyright Protected :

ALL RIGHTS TO THIS MOVIE REMAIN WITH THE OWNERS

GENRE : #WAR-MOVIES

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