Film: 5329

War + Military | 1940 | Sound | B/W


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The film takes five very different new recruits to the army during World War Two, with their vocal concerns and grievances, and shows how an unexpectedly and at times self-effacingly concerned Army turns them into an efficient, well-motivated team.

The basic approach of the film was suggested by Peter Ustinov who had actually experienced life as a private soldier, unlike most other actors and members of the pre-war film and theatre world who entered the forces as officers. It was, in Peter Ustinov's words "a film specially for those who had just entered the army, a film in which the bridge between civil and military life would be created by means of humour and comprehension".

Wrecked military vehicles at the side of a desert road, while other military vehicles move along. Same road but different angle. Overview of a military desert convoy snaking across the desert. Soldier dressed in desert uniform while a military lorry goes past. Two soldiers in the back of a lorry, one with a helmet on, the other smoking a pipe, both looking at a photograph. Close up of photograph of a group of five men in full military uniform in a formal pose. Close up of two men in a open back military lorry. Close up of photograph with a finger pointing at each soldier. Flash back to when the soldiers in the photograph were in their civilian jobs. Waiter with his "call up" papers. An Air Raid Warden with his "call up" papers. Bank Manager with his "call up" papers. Bricklayer and his "call up" papers. Close up of a mother closing a suitcase, pans around to son (Peter Ustinov) and gives him a ring. Overview of a railway station . Close up of mother and son walking in the station. Son is kissed goodbye by mother as he goes past the the ticket barrier towards the train. Passes a Military Policeman and looks at him thoughtfully. Close up of a railway carriage as the men introduce themselves. The bank manager is seen walking along the platform with 'airs and graces', aloof. Female porter loads on his lugguage onto the train, the bank manager joins the rest of the men and chat amongst themselves.

Steam train leaving the station seen from the platform level. Man hurrying to board the moving train and drops some luggage in his haste, he eventually boards it. Train leaving the station shot from behind. The men are having a serious discussion about the war. Close up on two of the men. Close up on another two men, pans across to a soldier reading a newspaper and smoking a pipe. Close up of three of the men, one talking. Close up of a soldier. Close up of two men. Close up of the soldier telling a story and keeps cutting to the men listening. Close up of each man in turn. Train enters station with platform guard and three British soldiers walking away from the camera. Close up of platform guard. People leaving the train. Five men leave the train and watch the "Sergeant Major" come towards them. Sergeant Major is a tall hard looking man with a riding crop or baton under his arm, he has a Hitler type moustache. A large group of men try and get into line on the platform. Close up of Sergeant Major (S.M.) giving orders. Close up of one of the men looking worried. Close up of two of the men, one is talking. Close up of S.M. telling him to stop. The S.M. orders them to "turn right and march".

Men are in a military lorry and a soldier joins them. The soldier sits down and the others look at him cautiously. One man offers the soldier a cigarette. close up of Peter Ustinov. A man and a soldier talk to each other. Cuts to the others listening intently. Pans out so there is three men in shot with the soldier. Doctor giving medical examination to the men, one at a time. The examined men are putting on their clothes. Doctor examining another man around the heart. New recruits or soldiers at attention on the parade ground in autumn or winter. close up of one line with a corporal in shot, a hat falls off one of the soldier's heads. Close up of Corporal giving orders. Close up of soldiers "about turn", Corporal goes to the men to adjust and inspect them. Close up of the Corporal . Close up of the men. Overview of men exercising in a aerobic style in vests and shorts. Close ups of men doing exercise. Soldiers marching into a barrack with mugs and spoons. Corporal showing how to load a rifle to the men.

Three of the men getting into their uniforms in the barracks. The bank manager type soldier is wearing his own pyjamas and examines his army underwear. Soldier comes into the barracks and hands out brown paper for the men to wrap up their civilian clothes. The men are asleep except for two, one puts on his civilian clothes and sneaks out, the other puts on his military clothes, watches him through the barrack windows and confronts him outside. They have a serious heart to heart talk, They stop as a sentry nears with a flash light. The military dressed soldier gives his coat to civilian dressed soldier and goes back into the barracks past the sentry. Men in vest and shorts exercising in the parade ground. Close up of physical training (P.T.) instructor. cuts to close up to one of the men looking worried. Corporal with "Enfield Rifle" in armoury. Soldier talking to corporal looking worried, Corporal keeps on examining the rifle. Soldiers working on a car in a type of motor pool, Two talking intently, then all rush off due to order given off screen. Two soldiers and one female Lance Corporal at a desk, female soldier studying papers. one soldier writing in a type of log, standing with one leg on a chair, the other soldier standing behind and talking to him. soldiers with rifles on the parade ground . Close up of one soldier. Profile of Corporal as soldier marches up to him and talks. Close up of soldier with others visible in the background . Soldiers in barracks getting dressed into their vests and shorts. Soldier walks in and talks to another. Both sit opposite each other on their beds. Corporal comes in shouting, men go running out, talks to uniformed soldier and walks out. Overview of soldiers putting an object together in some sort of mental test. Close up of same situation. Scene in barrack of men cleaning their boots while one sweeps up moaning. One soldier typing on a typewriter placed on his knees. Close up of sweeping soldier talking. Enters soldier in full dress and talks to a particular soldier, Close up of situation. Soldier at attention in front of military doctor at his desk, salutes and leaves. Close up of men in the barracks at the table talking.

Corporal shouts at men waking up in their beds. soldier making his bed. Group of soldiers packing kit outdoors. soldiers marching on the parade ground. Close up of hands polishing boots. Close up of legs marching in mud. Close up of muddy boot being cleaned with a knife. Close up of S.M. giving orders. Wide shot of parade ground with soldiers. Close up of S.M. Close up of a soldier on parade. Close up of S.M. Close up of soldier dropping his rifle. Soldiers airing their blankets outdoors. Soldiers marching. Soldiers being taught about a "Breech Block" in a machine gun in class. One soldier daydreaming and then brought back to attention. Close up of Corporal in doorway. Soldier quickly getting dressed. Soldiers practicing drill on the parade ground, with the five mens faces fading in one at a time. In barracks, one is typing, one darning his socks and the others are cleaning their boots. Two soldiers practice combat techniques and one is hurt. Close up of other who looks anxious, the others help him, but he is alright. Goes over to the worried one and says 'he's alright'. Soldier still looks worried. Close up of Corporal standing at the door. One soldier tries to talk to him but gets talked over. Close up of another soldier looking thoughtfully.

Soldiers lying down on a firing range shooting at targets. Close up of soldier with a "Bren gun" with corporal looking on at him. Close up of another soldier with a Bren gun. Close up of first soldier with a Bren gun, and cannot fire. Close up of other Bren gun soldier looking concerned. Close up of first Bren gun (B.G.) soldier looking worried or concentrating, taking aim but not firing. Close up (C/up) of Corporal looking understanding. S.M. giving orders with hands on his sides. First B.G. soldier unloads. Soldiers relaxing and reading in barrack room. The two B.G. soldiers are practicing on the Bren Gun, taking it apart and loading and unloading within the barracks. Firing range general view. C/up of first B.G. soldier looking scared and takes aim. C/up of other B.G. watching and willing him on. C/up of first B.G. soldier scared and looking down. Other bren gun soldiers are watching him. C/up of hand on a bren gun trigger. C/up of first B.G. soldier. Hand of other B.G. soldier pushes his finger on the trigger. First B.G. soldier fires, then unloads. soldiers on parade. C/up of soldier. Three quarters on front line of the parade. C/up of Corporal. C/up of soldier. C/up of Corporal. C/up of front rank who raise their hands as in volunteering. C/up of Corporal smiling. Six soldiers in battle dress walking down a country lane and come to a halt by a fence. C/up of men with camouflage. One leaves and the five walk on. Tree seen from top to bottom with three "Home Guard" soldiers (H.G.S.) in camouflage at the base of the the tree. Five soldiers walking through woodland suddenly stop. C/up of two. Five crawl along the ground in a line. Change of angle more head on. C/up of H.G.S. Soldiers crawling under barbed wire. C/up of Soldier. Three take cover behind some bracken. C/up of the five soldiers crouching. C/up of H.G.S. C/up of the two B.G. soldiers three quarters from behind. C/up of two B.G. soldiers profile and loading. Three soldiers crawling. Two B.G.S. one waving a white hankerchief or hankie. C/up of H.G.S. Landscape view. C/up of H.G.S. waving a white flag. C/up of two B.G.S waving hankie. Three soldiers crawling through the grass. C/up two B.G.S. C/up of H.G.S. waving flag. Three soldiers crawling. C/up of soldier putting a stripe on his sleeve with some chalk. C/up of 3 H.G.S. with white flag. C/up of two B.G. soldiers. Back of the H.G.S., pans left to three soldierscrawling behind them. C/up of three soldiers. Three Soldiers charging and capturing the the H.G.S. C/up of the three soldiers pointing their rifles. C/up of surprised H.G.S. C/up of the three soldiers resting on their rifles. c/up of medal ribbons on the Home guard officers breast. C/up of soldiers face. Soldiers in the barracks at the table. Corporal walks in. soldiers at the table, Corporal just in shot. C/up of Corporal and back of soldiers head. C/up of men at table. C/up of Corporal. Cup of men at the table. Cinema screen showing very staged, over acted and unrealistic first world war film with Robert Donat, backs of heads of the audience are in the foreground. Screen soldiers talking in a trench. Five soldiers in a row watching the film. C/up of screen soldiers. C/up of two soldiers watching, one told to be quiet by a old women sitting behind him. Screen soldier cutting wire. Soldiers watching in the cinema. Screen soldier runnig over no-mans land. Cutting to soldiers in cinema. Screen soldier trying to wake up dead and exhausted troops in a shell hole, wakes one. German pillbox. Two screen soldiers talking. Cut back to soldiers talking in cinema. Screen soldiers attacking the Pill box. Pill box explodes. Screen soldier shot. C/up of screen hero dies. C/up of two soldiers in cinema. screen hero awarded the Victoria Cross (V.C.) pans back to include a fashionable and pretty young woman next to him. Cut back to soldiers in the cinema. Soldiers leave the cinema. The five soldiers pose in a formal way in a photograpghers studio. Cut to photographer with old fashioned camera on a tripod. Soldiers relax and talk, back into a formal pose and special effects make the scene a photograph. Two soldiers in a military lorry looking at the photo, one tears it up and throws it towards the camera smiling. Military convoy on the horizon with sunset behind. anti aircraft guns firing at night and in the day. Tanks in battle in the desert. Exploding tank. Battle scenes and explosions. British troops in the desert dropping down after explosion. View from under heavy gun of british soldiers laying flat. Battle scene with the five men individually faded in on top. British troops climbing over rubble with bayonettes on rifles.

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