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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Boulting Brothers iconic British comedy, 28 Aug 2013
This review is from: Private's Progress [DVD] (DVD)
PRIVATE'S PROGRESS 1956 R2 DVD

Back in the 1980s I replaced most of my collection of 8mm movies with VHS and now I am going through a same process of upgrading everything to DVD. This also gives me the excuse to re-visit older films that I have not viewed for some time. This 1957 Boulting Brothers comedy, based on the Henry Cecil novel brought together the talents of Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, Dennis Price and Richard Attenborough four of the top star of British film comedy. I remember being taken to see this movie at the quaint Odeon Cinema in Salisbury as a boy which was paired with BROTHERS IN LAW starring the same team when they were on release in the late fifties.

I never did manage to obtain an 8 mm or even a VHS copy of this scarce film which to my knowledge has never even been shown on British television and was pleased when I bought this DVD edition a couple of years ago. Oddly I now have two copies as it also appears in the Terry-Thomas Collection. Both copies are from Optimum and although neither are restored and the transfer is a bit graining in places the collection copy seems to have slightly better sound...strange?

Ian Carmichael plays Stanley Windrush a university student called up towards the end of the war. He quickly proves himself not to be officer material which leads him to meet up with wily Private Cox, Richard Attenborough, who knows exactly how to fiddle a 'shirker's ticket' in the British Army. Add in Stanley's brigadier uncle, Dennis Price, an art fraudster and con-man and the incompetent and naive Windrush find himself propelled into a scheme to steal looted art treasures from the Germans.

The cast list is a who's who of famous faces of the 1950s and 1960s with the brillant Terry Thomas, making a number of almost cameo appearances throughout the film as the toff Major Hitchcock, and William Hartnell as the training drill sergeant, a role that he reprised in 1958 for Carry on Sergeant which had many similarities to Private's Progesss. Watch out for the multi-lingual Christopher Lee as a German officer; he also dubbed the German diaglogue for Dennis Price.

Either you loved these British comedies of the 1950s and 1960 or you hated them; if you are a fan then this is a must for your collection.
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