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During the War seven women from very different backgrounds find themselves together in the Auxiliary Territorial Services. They are soon drilling, driving lorries, and manning ack-ack batteries. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The locomotive pulling the carriages from the Southern Railway London terminus where the women board, is a different class locomotive seen later in the film prior to their arrival at the Army base. See more »
This film follows the experiences of seven women who find themselves together in the Auxillary Territorial Services during the war. The film begins at a train station where the narrator picks out six young women at random. These six ladies - charming but indistinguishable to me - end up in the same carriage of a train on their way to their base. The seventh, Gwen Hayden, joins the others as the train is about to depart. It's a promising start - we eagerly anticipate what will happen to these seven ladies throughout the course of the war. We assume that they'll all end up going their separate ways, but will perhaps reunite at the end of the war, having each been through some unique and fascinating experiences.
Unfortunately, nothing much happens to any of them. They arrive at their base, engage in some vacuous conversation, and then it's on with the mundane duties of the Auxillary Territorial Services. The first fifteen minutes or so after they arrive is basically a montage of footage showing the ladies and their colleagues being regimented by their superiors, during marching practise and so on, and contains very little entertainment value, except for a couple of attempted visual jokes, including one lady soldier who turns the wrong way and ends up marching away from all the others.
Perhaps the problem with the rest of the film is that it's a little too honest. There's no drama and there are no complications - just a group of ladies fulfilling the mundane duties of lorry driving, drilling and manning ack-ack batteries, and prattling on in between. The almost complete lack of male characters makes the conversation even more intolerable. Occasionally the characters ponder the purpose of the war and what they're really fighting for, but their discourse fails to scale any great philosophical heights. There's a melodramatic spiel by a French woman in the middle of the film, in which she tells some of our British ladies about what the Nazis did to her father and brother, but it fails to stir us amidst the jollility of life in the Services. Rather, it seems like a contrived attempt by the scriptwriters to provide some semblance of drama.
The only other drama that occurs - in fact, one of the few events that occurs in this basically plotless film - happens towards the end of the film, but unfortunately it is too little too late. This film is nothing more than a slice of British life during the war. None of the seven ladies embark on any great adventures, they never experience the hardships of war and since the film only scratches the surface of its seven main characters, at the end one is left feeling as though we hardly know them any better than we did when we first met them at the train station. Women will probably enjoy this film more than men, but there is really nothing in it to make it worthy of recommendation.
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