The Way Ahead

1944

Action / Drama / War

23
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 1419

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

David Niven as Lt. Jim Perry
Peter Ustinov as Rispoli - Cafe Owner
Trevor Howard as Officer on Ship
William Hartnell as Sgt. Ned Fletcher
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
813.37 MB
1280*720
English
NR
24.000 fps
1hr 55 min
P/S 0 / 2
1.84 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
24.000 fps
1hr 55 min
P/S 2 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 8 / 10

Full marks for the film's realistic approach!

Not copyrighted in the U.S.A. A Two Cities Film, presented by G.C.F. New York opening at the Victoria: 3 June 1944. U.S. release through 20th Century-Fox: January 1945. U.K. release through General Film Distributors: 6 June 1944. Australian release through G-B-D/20th Century-Fox: 8 February 1945. 10,693 feet. 118 minutes. (DVD available from ITV Studios Home Entertainment).

As Fox did not copyright the film in the U.S.A., Unger Associates prepared and released a version re-edited by Fitz Rogers, with a Foreword by Quentin Reynolds, called "The Immortal Battalion". This American version, which runs 95 minutes, was still being aired on Australian TV as recently as 1990.

SYNOPSIS: Seven civilians are drafted into the army.

NOTES: In a switch that all writers will relish, during WW2 director Carol Reed found himself working for novelist-turned-Lieutenant Colonel Eric Ambler, who was in charge of all training, educational and morale film-making for the British Army. One such training film scripted by Ambler was "The New Lot", about a bunch of conscripts from various backgrounds and how they shaped up. Robert Donat was one of the stars. Reed and Ambler then sold the War Office brass on the idea of making a commercial feature film based on the same premise. Private Peter Ustinov was seconded with Reed to Two Cities.

COMMENT: This film falls into two parts. The training segments and the troop in action (on real locations) in North Africa. I found the first section much more entertaining than the second. The seven civilians are nicely contrasted and ingratiatingly acted, while Niven and Hartnell shine as their captain and sergeant respectively.

Also great to see (and hear) Leo Genn, even if his role is regrettably tiny. These scenes are warmly, colorfully realistic. A real nostalgia trip for me. The combat scenes, though equally realistic, I found less appealing.

It is fascinating to compare the soberly realistic approach of "The Way Ahead" with the outrageously romanticized and glorified Hollywood treatment of similar subjects. In fact, although made heroic, war is not glorified here at all. For a propaganda piece and morale- booster, the overall message is remarkably sober, even downbeat.

Full credit to Reed's meticulous yet pacey direction, Ambler and Ustinov's sharply observant script, Green's fine camera-work and Two Cities' expansive budget.

However, I'm not over-keen on the unresolved conclusion which to my mind re-enforces the down beat of the latter section of the film. Another negative is Ustinov's own on-camera performance. Is he supposed to be funny? Or are we to sympathize with him, despite his boorishness? I've seen the film many times, but I never know what to make of or how to take Rispoli.

Reviewed by comps-784-38265 8 / 10

Old fashioned classic propaganda warfilm - Sunday Matinée Brill !

What makes this film interesting to watch, apart from being a bloody good story, is it was made in 1944 and therefore designed as both entertainment and propaganda.

Pre D-Day this film is preparing the audience for the trouble and potential defeats ahead. So interesting for historical insight.

One of my favourite actors, David Niven, took time off of his day job (a war time army officer) to play a war time army officer, a reservist called up for the duration.

With his seasoned sergeant to help, we follow the progress of new recruits as they are transformed in basic training from civilians to soldiers.

Then as they go overseas to fight we follow there struggle, the film ends with them advancing forward bayonets fixed - the way ahead, in part preparing the audience for the onslaught of D-Day.

Great classic film, proper story, good acting and historically interesting too. Great Sunday afternoon entertain, to watch with a cold beer.

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 7 / 10

Watch it for the camaraderie

THE WAY AHEAD is a British WW2 propaganda movie extolling the virtues of the British army and perhaps helping inspire people to sign up. Watching it today, it's a great film purely because it contains an ensemble cast of familiar faces, all of whom give fine performances. Like FULL METAL JACKET, most of the film is about training, training, and more training, with the real battle stuff saved for the final moments, but that doesn't mean that it's a dull movie. It's anything but.

David Niven headlines the film as the officer in charge of a rag-tag group of men. Conflict arises from the stern disciple he extols, but of course it all comes right in the end. What's special here is the effort made to characterise all of the individual soldiers, and the writer does his job very well in this respect. Carol Reed's direction is exemplary too. The cast includes Hugh Burden, William Hartnell, Stanley Holloway, James Donald, John Laurie, Leslie Dwyer, Jimmy Hanley, Raymond Huntley, Peter Ustinov and Leo Genn, and it's fair to say that not one of them puts a foot wrong.

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