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This movie begins in a World War II training depot of a British Guards armored regiment where recruits from many walks of life learn to survive the strict discipline and training together before going into battle in tanks. There is a cameo appearance by the real Sergeant Major Brittain, who was famous in the British guards regiments.
Dated British WW2 film, with heavy-handed messages and cameoing stars
THEY WERE NOT DIVIDED is a near-forgotten British WW2 movie, directed by none other than Terence Young, the man who would later helm DR NO and FROM Russia WITH LOVE amongst other well-remembered movies. By comparison, this is the kind of film that few people bother watching and even fewer remember these days. It doesn't help that the script is quite dry, the narrative fairly stodgy, and there's a distinct lack of big-name actors to give audiences a reason to watch. Instead, THEY WERE NOT DIVIDED goes for a low key, almost documentary-style approach as it follows new recruits as they join a Welsh Guards battalion, train, and eventually journey to France to see action in their tanks.
This kind of template is familiar from the modern-day likes of BAND OF BROTHERS but the execution is only so-so here. There's a lot of talk and back-and-forth dialogue, but when it comes to the action, the big set-pieces that everybody remembers are hurried through. Stock footage is also used quite liberally. I didn't mind the unknown lead actors, although the heavy-handed messages smack of propaganda (basically, America and Britain should work together as one) which is bizarre given that the war had been over for four years when this was shot.
Most of the fun comes from spotting future actors in support. Michael Brennan (LUST FOR A VAMPIRE) is particularly good fun as the enthusiastic Welsh soldier, and there's a cameo from real-life RSM Brittain, who adds some humour. Christopher Lee only has a couple of lines but is in the background in almost every scene in the film, while future Q Desmond Llewellyn plays a tank driver.
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