Private's Progress (1956)

  |  Comedy, War

Private's Progress (1956) Poster

In World War II, a failed British Officer is selected by his uncle, a Brigadier with the War Office, to participate in a secret operation to "recover" looted artworks from the Nazis.


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27 October 2008 | bkoganbing
| British Service Comedy
Back when World War II was really going on, the British did not care too much for service comedies in the same way we did watching Bob Hope, or Eddie Bracken, or Abbott&Costello. The fact their island was really being bombed did dampen the sense of humor somewhat. Private's Progress could never have been made back then.

But the British sense of humor came back with a vengeance in the making of this film by the Boulting Brothers. I have to say I truly enjoyed it along with a few favorite British character actors of mine.

One I was not familiar with was Ian Carmichael who plays upper class twit Stanley Windrush who leaves Oxford in answer to his country's call to arms. Though he's quite proper, he's about as qualified for military service as Lou Costello.

He's not Costello though, he's more like a version of Captain Parmenter from F Troop, the perfect dupe for the schemes of others around him. His gullibility is recognized by his uncle Dennis Price and by scheming private Richard Attenborough.

Carmichael and the rest arrive almost at the very end of World War II where Price and Attenborough have hatched a grand plan to steal some of the art treasures the Nazis have originally stolen. Terry-Thomas is in this as well at the start of his brilliant comic career as an officer almost as dumb as Carmichael.

If you're liking the British comedies shown on public television, Private's Progress is definitely your kind of film.

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