This is a marvelously acted English drama, typical of the genre for its time, but superior in its casting. Based upon the play by Terrence Rattigan, the film takes place in England during the early part of the twentieth century, before the advent of World War I. A thirteen year old Naval cadet is expelled for stealing a postal order. He claims he did not do it, despite seeming evidence to the contrary. His upstanding family stands behind him and supports him. After going to the Naval academy from which he was expelled, where their entreaties fall upon deaf ears, they decide to take the unprecedented step of suing the Crown.
The family retains the services of the well respected barrister, Sir Robert Morton, cooly played with dash by the ever wonderful Robert Donat, who agrees to represent the boy. The case becomes a cause celebre all over England, and Sir Morton's client becomes known as that Winslow boy, a notoriety that shakes the boy's very proper family to its core. While the case wends its way through the British legal system, tension between the boy's intelligent, bluestocking sister and his barrister bubbles to the surface, and the sparks begin to fly.
The old time English courtroom scenes that follow will satisfy all legal beagles and lovers of courtroom drama. The resolution of the suit is somewhat predictable, but enhanced by the delicious wit of the dialogue and the wonderful performances by the entire cast. The movie ends on a note of romantic hope, as it does not lament what might have been between the barrister and the boy's sister, but, instead, augers what is surely to come.
All in all, this is a terrific movie with a stellar cast.