Private's Progress

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Private's Progress
Private's Progress - 1956 poster.jpg
Original UK cinema poster
Directed by John Boulting
Produced by Roy Boulting
Screenplay by John Boulting
Frank Harvey
Based on Private's Progress 
by Alan Hackney
Starring Ian Carmichael
Richard Attenborough
Dennis Price
Terry-Thomas
Music by John Addison
Cinematography Eric Cross
Editing by Anthony Harvey
Studio Charter Film Productions
Distributed by British Lion Films (UK)
Release dates
  • 17 February 1956 (1956-02-17) (UK)
Running time 95 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office £310,870 (UK)[1]

Private's Progress is a 1956 British comedy film based on the novel by Alan Hackney. It was directed and produced by John and Roy Boulting, from a script by John Boulting and Frank Harvey.

Plot[edit]

During World War II, the young undergraduate Stanley Windrush (Ian Carmichael), is conscripted into the British Army. Unlike his friend Egan (Peter Jones), Windrush is a most reluctant soldier and struggles through basic training at Gravestone barracks. Failing his officer selection board, he is posted to a holding unit, under the command of Major Hitchcock. Most of the soldiers there are malingerers and drop-outs.

Windrush is finally posted to train as a Japanese interpreter, where he becomes the prize pupil; he's then contacted by his uncle, Brigadier Tracepurcel (Dennis Price), now a senior officer in the War Office, to join a secret operation known only as "Hatrack". He is quickly commissioned and the operation is launched, Windrush becoming an unwitting participant in a scheme ostensibly to recover looted artworks from the Germans, but really to steal them and sell them to two crooked art dealers.

Windrush survives the operation, despite being briefly arrested by British forces whilst in German uniform, and is discharged from the army. Tracepurcel and his associate Private Cox (Richard Attenborough) fake their own deaths. Windrush returns to university after the war, and is surprised to receive a visit from Cox, who brings him an attache case. However, Cox is arrested as he leaves, he and Tracepurcel having been tracked as source of a counterfeit copy of one of the artworks. Windrush innocently reveals to the military police the contents of the case—a large sum of money—and is also arrested, assumed to be complicit in the fraud.

Production[edit]

The film was primarily filmed at Shepperton Studios, however a number of scenes were filmed at Wantage Hall, a hall of residence for the University of Reading.

It was the first in a series of successful satirical comedies made by the Boulting brothers for their production company Charter Films. Their 1959 comedy I'm All Right Jack featured many of the same actors and characters. A number of references are made to the events of Private's Progress.

Partial cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

The film was the second most popular movie at the British box office in 1956.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p506
  2. ^ BRITISH. FILMS MADE MOST MONEY: BOX-OFFICE SURVEY The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 28 Dec 1956: 3

External links[edit]