The Next of Kin (1942)

  |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller

The Next of Kin (1942) Poster

Wartime propaganda piece giving the warning "Be like Dad, Keep Mum". A gossipy housewife is overheard talking about what her son is doing by a Nazi spy.


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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast


Thorold Dickinson


Thorold Dickinson (original screen play), Basil Bartlett (original screen play), Angus MacPhail (original screen play), John Dighton (original screen play)


1 win.

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8 August 2019 | boblipton
| Be Like Dad: Keep Mum
Why does the Brigadier's wine merchant know where he is being posted next? The mess sergeant let it drop. Efforts to tighten up security to make sure leaks that might reveal troop movement aren't much use when the British soldier believes we're all in it together. The only suspicion is raised when a trooper claims he was assigned to Headquarters, and another soldier doesn't recognize him. He reports him to the C.O., and it turns out he's right.... and the reporting trooper has his leave cut short to escort the spy to prison. Even that pretty dancer you've been dating turns out to be telling German spies what you've said innocuously.

It's all being managed by people who run bookstores or are dentists, with accents that proclaim they are as English as John Bull. And their deadliest agent, who kills Nova Pilbeam -- Boo! Hiss! -- is worn-down, workaday Mervyn Johns.

The War Office commissioned this movie from Michael Balcon. He took the small amount of money, doubled it, made this rip-roaring yet somber spy drama. Once he recovered the money he had put into it, the profits went to the War Office, and there were plenty of profits. It was enormously popular, and rightly so, even if Churchill considered having it censored because it might destroy morale. If we can't trust each other, whom can we trust?

It all ends with an exciting race. The army is planning a massive raid. Johns has the aerial surveys. Can he get it to the German High Command in time for them to figure out where it will be and stop it? Or at least make it so difficult that death notices must be sent to the next of kin?

So keep your lip buttoned up. Even if you're Wayne Naunton taking to Basil Radford. Mervyn Johns might be listening.

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