6.9/10
113
5 user 1 critic

The Next of Kin (1942)

Wartime propaganda piece giving the warning "Be like Dad, Keep Mum". A gossipy housewife is overheard talking about what her son is doing by a Nazi spy.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
No 23: Mr Davis (as Flight Lieut. Mervyn Johns)
John Chandos ...
No 16: his contact
...
Beppie Leemans
Reginald Tate ...
Maj. Richards (as Squadron Leader Reginald Tate)
Stephen Murray ...
Mr. Barratt (as L/C Stephen Murray)
Geoffrey Hibbert ...
Pvt. John (as Flight Lieut. Geoffrey Hibbert)
...
Lt. Cummins
Phyllis Stanley ...
Miss Clare, dancer
Mary Clare ...
Mrs. 'Ma' Webster
...
Naval captain
Joss Ambler ...
Mr Vemon
Brefni O'Rorke ...
Brigadier Blunt
Alexander Field ...
Pvt. Durnford
David Hutcheson ...
Intelligence officer
...
Brigade Major Harcourt (as 2nd Lieut Jack Hawkins)
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Storyline

Wartime propaganda piece giving the warning "Be like Dad, Keep Mum". A gossipy housewife is overheard talking about what her son is doing by a Nazi spy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Thriller | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 June 1942 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Alguien habló  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Walton: Soldier at security briefing. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: [Spoken as camera pans across dead soldiers after the battle sequence] The object of the raid has been achieved. Locked gates, oil storage tanks, harbour equipment were destroyed. One enemy submarine was put out of action, our own losses, both in men and craft were very heavy. The enemy had been warned. He was waiting for us. And although our troops fought throughout with great skill and gallantry, they were not able to effect the surprise that had been hoped for. They paid the price for bad ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

[pre-title announcement] "This is the story of how YOU unwittingly worked for the enemy", See more »

Connections

Referenced in Enigma (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

All Over the Place
(uncredited)
Music by Noel Gay
Arranged by Eddie Griffiths
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A war film of rare authenticity
21 May 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This film's message was so important and serious that it was originally intended by the authorities in wartime Britain for military circulation only. However, the original project for a simple training film warning of the terrible danger of Nazi espionage grew into a full-blown Ealing Studios feature, largely because the director (the great and nowadays relatively unsung Thorold Dickinson) was able to convince the 'top brass' that the message of his film should also be brought to the attention of the 'next of kin' on the home front.

The paradoxical result was that a film at first only intended for strictly limited circulation amongst those with security clearance became a great box office hit. Equally paradoxical was the degree of really quite startling realism - especially for the time - with which it convincingly presented certain uncomfortable realities of war to the domestic audience; the only concession to any kind of comforting assurance being the explosive finale when, despite horrifying casualties amongst the invasion force whose plans have been compromised by enemy agents, the commandos are able to press on and successfully sabotage their strategic military objective on the coast of occupied France.

The location filming of authentic training manoeuvres in and around the Cornish village of Megavissey is superb, and does not pull its punches in showing bodies blown to bits, etc. The remarkable live sound recording gives a really stomach-tightening sense of the military hardware being unleashed: The sounds of the actual artillery, bombs, and powerful engines actually mobilized for War contribute to a far greater urgency than what audiences were used to. Even now, it is abundantly clear that CGI pyrotechnics, by comparison, just do not pack the requisite punch.

The script cleverly and effectively alerts its audience to the very real danger of 'careless talk' and even deals unblinkingly with such unsavoury real-life scenarios as a cocaine-addicted stripper being blackmailed into spying on her soldier boyfriend by her Nazi-sympathising dresser; or a cultivated bookshop owner who is in reality a ruthless Nazi agent, and perfectly prepared to blackmail his young assistant into obtaining information by threatening to arrange that her Jewish parents, whom she has had to leave behind in occupied Amsterdam when she became a refugee, are detained in 'protective custody;' or the mild little businessman from Wales who strolls around undetected and undetained throughout the film, stealing information with alarming ease, to the untold advantage of his country's deadly foe.

These Nazi spies are not the usual easily-defeated Prussian blockheads beloved of more naive propaganda films, but intelligent, sophisticated and well-trained agents, supplied with detailed cover, a network of contacts, and portable radios. They represent an all-too-believable and imminent threat to Britain's survival.

One cannot help reflecting that this clear-eyed view of Britain's predicament stands now in stark contrast to the present era of lies and dissimulation. Churchill thought - quite reasonably during such an extreme emergency - of banning this film, but eventually reconsidered, since the military authorities of the time were ultimately prepared to trust the people of Britain with something surprisingly close to the truth. I venture to state that, evidently, people were trusted more by their governors during the global crisis of a World War, when national survival unquestionably stood in far greater danger of sudden catastrophe, than they are today!


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