Next of Kin (June 15, 1942)
Released on June 15, 1942: A WWII spy adventure produced for the British Armed Forces that Winston Churchill wanted to ban from the public until convinced by the director to let the 'Next of Kin' watch the movie.
Produced by Michael Balcon
Directed by Thorold Dickinson
Written by Basil Bartlett, John Dighton, Angus MacPhail and Thorold Dickinson
The Actors: Flight Lieutenant Mervyn Johns (Mr. Davis, number 23), John Chandos (unknown), Nova Pilbeam (Beppie Leemans), Squadron Leader Reginald Tate (Major Richards), Lieutenant Commander Stephen Murray (Mr. Barratt, book shop owner), Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Hibbert (Private John), Philip Friend (Lieutenant Cummins), Phyllis Stanley (Miss Clare, dancer), Mary Clare (Ma Webster), Basil Sydney (Naval Captain), Joss Ambler (Mr. Vemon), Brefni O'Rorke (Brigadier Blunt), Alexander Field (Private Durnford), David Hutcheson (intelligence officer), Second Lieutenant Jack Hawkins (Brigade Major Harcourt), Frederick Leister (Colonel), Lieutenant Torin Thatcher (German General), Charles Victor (Irish seaman Joe), Second Lieutenant Richard Norris (Private Jimmy), Guy Maas (Captain Mercier), Thora Hird (ATS drover with puncture), Basil Radford (careless talker on train), Naunton Wayne (careless talker on train), Johnnie Schofield (Lance Corporal), Frank Allenby (Wing Commander Keaton), Victor Beaumont (German Colonel), Mark Daly (Corporal on train), Ian Fleming (Naval officer), Hal Gordon (builder's labourer), James Knight (sailor on train), Mary Malcolm (Keaton's lunch date), Charles Rolfe (Mr. Palmer), William Walton (soldier at security briefing), H. Victor Weske (Ted), John Williams (General Cooper)
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The Movie that Winston Churchill Banned . . .
Both the U.S. and Britain made motion pictures during World War II that were intended to either educate our soldiers and their families back home on the danger of spies among us, or to encourage the folk at home to stand brave and know that victory would be inevitable because of our courageous fighting men. Like all motion pictures made in the U.S. and Britain there were censors who would make sure that the story line was proper and that language, visuals and such were kept very tame. This movie is very different . . . . Filmed in England it was only to be shown to the British men in uniform. It includes a coke addicted strip tease girl, and several words, a magazine cover, and an ending that would never make it past the censors. It also portrayed the enemy agents not as bumbling fools, but as very smart folk who could outwit our own soldiers. It would not have passed the censors eyes without substantial changes . . . . But the censors never had a crack at this one because it was produced by the military for only military consumption – It would never be seen by the civilian population. Many of the actors were commissioned officers, several of which were professional actors who enlisted when war broke out. After the movie came together Director Thorold Dickinson believed that the message should be seen by not only the men in uniform but by their 'Next of Kin'. Winston Churchill insisted that no one outside the military should ever watch this story, but later was convinced to allow the movie to be shown in public theatres and it became an overnight hit. Now, many years later, it is an almost-forgotten piece of World War II history that has survived and I believe that its message is a very powerful peek at war time England and the challenges that the war brought to the 1940's British society. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Frank Allenby and Mary Malcolm
Geoffrey Hibbert and Nova Pilbeam
Mary Clare and Phyllis Stanley
Mervyn Johns and Nova Pilbeam
Mervyn Johns and Reginald Tate
Nova Pilbeam and Stephen Murray
Stephen Murray and Nova Pilbeam