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Next of Kin (1942)

Mervyn Johns , Nova Pilbeam , Thorold Dickinson  |  NR |  DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mervyn Johns, Nova Pilbeam
  • Directors: Thorold Dickinson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alpha Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,273 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Editorial Reviews

During the dark days of World War II, a British traitor secretly gathers information for his Nazi overlords. Gleaning bits of news about military operations from careless, loose-lipped Englishmen, Davis relays them to his chief, who operates a London bookstore. When a Dutch refugee working at the shop, learns of their elaborate espionage activities, she is forced to cooperate or see her loved ones liquidated.

Originally planned as a simple propaganda piece of the "loose lips sink ships" variety, Next of Kin became an all-star vehicle that elicited good reviews from British critics despite its modest production values. Much of the film's dramatic weight rests on the slender shoulders of former child star Nova Pilbeam, who had a key role in Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and shot to stardom as the leading lady in his 1937 thriller Young and Innocent. Newsreel footage from the front is adroitly blended with newly shot material. In keeping with the national willingness to participate in the war effort, many prominent actors, among them Jack Hawkins, Torin Thatcher, Basil Sydney, Phyllis Stanley, Basil Radford, and Naunton Wayne, take bit parts. When released in the United States, additional footage was shot as a prologue and epilogue, in which a General admonishes audiences to be tight-lipped.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Historical Piece November 30, 2012
Five stars for historical interest, one star for cinematic achievement. This made-for-wartime film illustrates the ease with which a country can become infiltrated by spies for foreign powers and hence, the need to watch what you say, to whom you say it and at what decibel level, given the fact that others may well be listening. The main plot arc concerns a British operation in coastal France, an area sparsely defended by the Germans. When the spies and traitors do their work, however, the Germans are able to reinforce and the mission is jeopardized. Sometimes marketed as 'the film that Churchill sought to ban', his concern was that seeing British forces overcome could hurt morale.

The interest in the film chiefly comes from early appearances by Torin Thatcher and Jack Hawkins. Ian Fleming appears (uncredited) as a naval officer. The plot is thin and the characterizations largely stereotypical. While the budget was doubtless limited, the production values are well above laughable. The basic problem is that the quality of the script is not equal to the importance of the subject. This is not The Thirty-Nine Steps. The film will be interesting as a political period piece, not as cinematic art. It also, as expected, lacks the combat realism of something like Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers. The combat scenes are very staged and lack the urgency that Churchill might have feared.
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