The Next of Kin
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|The Next of Kin|
|Directed by||Thorold Dickinson|
|Produced by||Michael Balcon|
|Written by||Basil Bartlett
|Music by||William Walton|
|Edited by||Ray Pitt|
|Distributed by||Ealing Studios|
|Running time||101 m|
The film was originally commissioned by the British War Office as a training film to promote the government propaganda message that "Careless talk costs lives". After being taken on by Ealing Studios, the project was expanded and given a successful commercial release.
After World War II and up until at least the mid 1960s, services in British Commonwealth countries continued to use The Next of Kin as part of security training.
The British army is preparing an attack on a German-held French port. German intelligence use agents in England to discover the intended target by piecing together information from different sources, including conversations overheard in pubs, railway stations, shops and other public places.
Originally, the commando raid depicted was intended to be a complete failure. However, the War Office were uncomfortable about showing such a defeat. In the final version, the raid is successful, albeit with heavy losses. Winston Churchill reportedly wanted the film banned as a threat to morale, but was eventually persuaded of the importance of its message.
- Mervyn Johns as No 23, Mr Davis
- John Chandos as No 16, his contact
- Nova Pilbeam as Beppie Leemans
- Reginald Tate as Major Richards
- Stephen Murray as Mr Barratt
- Jack Hawkins as Major
- Geoffrey Hibbert as Private John
- Philip Friend as Lieutenant Cummins
- Phyllis Stanley as Miss Clare
- Mary Clare as Mrs. Webster
- Basil Sydney as a naval captain
- Joss Ambler as Mr Vemon
- Brefni O'Rorke as Brigadier
- Alexander Field as Private Durnford
- David Hutcheson as an intelligence officer
- Torin Thatcher as a German general
- Thora Hird as an ATS driver with a puncture
Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne appear in cameos as two "careless talkers" on a train at the end of the film. The two men made many appearances together in British films of the 1940s, following their successful pairing as "Charters and Caldicott" in Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes.
- The Thorold Dickinson Archive is held at the University of the Arts London Archives and Special Collections Centre .
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