The Next of Kin

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The Next of Kin
"The Next of Kin" (1942).jpg
Directed by Thorold Dickinson
Produced by Michael Balcon
Written by Basil Bartlett
Thorold Dickinson
John Dighton
Angus MacPhail
Starring Mervyn Johns
Nova Pilbeam
John Chandos
Stephen Murray
Jack Hawkins
Music by William Walton
Cinematography Ernest Palmer
Edited by Ray Pitt
Distributed by Ealing Studios
Release date(s) 1942
Running time 101 m
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £50,000

The Next of Kin, also known as Next of Kin, is a 1942 World War II propaganda film produced by Ealing Studios.

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.

Plot summary[edit]

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.


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.

See also[edit]

  • The Thorold Dickinson Archive is held at the University of the Arts London Archives and Special Collections Centre [1].


External links[edit]