The Goose Steps Out

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The Goose Steps Out
"The Goose Steps Out" (1942).jpg
UK poster by Dudley Pout
Directed by Will Hay
Basil Dearden
Produced by Michael Balcon
Written by Angus MacPhail
John Dighton
Starring Will Hay
Frank Pettingell
Julien Mitchell
Charles Hawtrey
Peter Ustinov
Music by Bretton Byrd
Cinematography Ernest Palmer
Edited by Ray Pitt
Distributed by Ealing Studios
Release date
August 1942
Running time
84 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Goose Steps Out is a British comedy film released in 1942. This film starred, and was co-directed by, the British comedian Will Hay. He shared directorial credit with Basil Dearden whose first film as a director this was. The film was a big box office hit in Britain, but not in the U.S., where audiences failed to respond to the humour of Hay's pathetic, bumbling persona. The Goose Steps Out is also noted as the film debut of a young Peter Ustinov.[2]

The film's title refers to the Nazis' vigorous ceremonial marching, called "goose-stepping". It was the last appearance for Charles Hawtrey in a Will Hay films as Hay dropped him for wanting a bigger role, it was also Hay's last film on the subject of the Second World War.

Plot summary[edit]

Set during the Second World War, The Goose Steps Out recounts the adventures of William Potts (Will Hay) after it is discovered that he is an exact double of a German spy who the British have just captured. Potts is flown into Nazi Germany to impersonate the spy and instructed to seek out and bring back details of a new German secret weapon.

On arrival, however, Potts is placed in charge of a group of apparently rabidly-fascist young students who are being trained to work as spies in Britain. Potts attempts to undermine this by convincing the youngsters that the proper British way of saluting a great leader is to apply the V-sign, which they therefore do repeatedly and enthusiastically in the direction of a portrait of the Führer. At a function where he hopes to gather information about the weapon (a gasfire bomb), Potts succeeds only in getting blind drunk and admitting that he is a British agent. Luckily, some members of his class of Nazi youths turn out to be sympathetic Austrians and they help him obtain the secret he seeks. Potts and his new friends eventually commandeer a plane and fly back to Britain, crashing in a tree outside the War Office in London.



  • A current reviewer for TV Guide calls this film, "a funny programmer."[3]
  • In Forever Ealing, George Perry wrote, " In the climate of 1942, when British morale was at its lowest, what may now seem jingoistic acted as an innocent safety valve, and the film was popularly received."[4]


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