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Private's Progress (1956)

In World War II, a failed British Officer is selected by his uncle, a Brigadier with the War Office, to participate in a secret operation to "recover" looted artworks from the Nazis.


John Boulting


Alan Hackney (based on the story by), Frank Harvey (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Ian Carmichael ... Pte. Stanley Windrush
Ronald Adam ... Doctor at Medical
Henry B. Longhurst Henry B. Longhurst ... Mr. Spottiswood (as Henry Longhurst)
Peter Jones ... Arthur Egan
Dennis Price ... Brig. Bertram Tracepurcel
Miles Malleson ... Mr. Windrush Snr.
Sally Miles Sally Miles ... Catherine
David King-Wood David King-Wood ... Gerald
Derrick De Marney ... Pat
William Hartnell ... Sgt. Sutton
Brian Oulton ... M.O. at Gravestone Camp
Michael Trubshawe ... Col. Fanshawe
John Le Mesurier ... Psychiatrist
Jill Adams ... Prudence Greenslade
Terry-Thomas ... Major Hitchcock


Stanley Windrush has to interrupt his university education when he is called up towards the end of the war. He quickly proves himself not to be officer material. This leads him to meets up with wily Private Cox who knows exactly how all the scams work in the confused world of the British Army. And Stanley's brigadier War Office uncle seems to be up to something more than a bit shady too. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The film that is respectfully dedicated to all those who got away with it ! See more »


Comedy | War


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Did You Know?


In addition to playing a German Officer in this movie (mostly speaking in English), Sir Christopher Lee dubbed the voice of the Dennis Price character in the scenes where he is speaking in German. See more »


Once they are all dressed as German soldiers and behind German lines the vehicles they are using should really be left-hand drive (continental), not right-hand drive (British). See more »


Maj. Hitchcock: As for you Windrush, you're an absolute rotter!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the opening credits, there is a drawing depicting three officers in the "hear, see & speak no evil" stance with the words "the producers gratefully acknowledge the official cooperation of absolutely nobody. See more »


References In Which We Serve (1942) See more »


South of the Border
Written by Michael Carr and Jimmy Kennedy
See more »

User Reviews

British Service Comedy
27 October 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Back when World War II was really going on, the British did not care too much for service comedies in the same way we did watching Bob Hope, or Eddie Bracken, or Abbott&Costello. The fact their island was really being bombed did dampen the sense of humor somewhat. Private's Progress could never have been made back then.

But the British sense of humor came back with a vengeance in the making of this film by the Boulting Brothers. I have to say I truly enjoyed it along with a few favorite British character actors of mine.

One I was not familiar with was Ian Carmichael who plays upper class twit Stanley Windrush who leaves Oxford in answer to his country's call to arms. Though he's quite proper, he's about as qualified for military service as Lou Costello.

He's not Costello though, he's more like a version of Captain Parmenter from F Troop, the perfect dupe for the schemes of others around him. His gullibility is recognized by his uncle Dennis Price and by scheming private Richard Attenborough.

Carmichael and the rest arrive almost at the very end of World War II where Price and Attenborough have hatched a grand plan to steal some of the art treasures the Nazis have originally stolen. Terry-Thomas is in this as well at the start of his brilliant comic career as an officer almost as dumb as Carmichael.

If you're liking the British comedies shown on public television, Private's Progress is definitely your kind of film.

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German | English

Release Date:

17 February 1956 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Private's Progress See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (re-issue) (1957)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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