Director Carol Reed applies a semi-documentary style to this hugely entertaining World War II drama, set between 1939 and the African campaign of 1943. Eight British civilians from all walks of life are enlisted, and ultimately bond as a military unit. The script was co-written by Eric Ambler and Peter Ustinov, although some of its humor was edited-out for the shorter U.S. version, which was retitled The Immortal Battalion, and featured an introduction by journalist Quentin Reynolds. The movie is also notable as the film debut of Trevor Howard.
The Way Ahead also co-starred William Hartnell, who would go on to be the first actor to play the role of Doctor Who, in the long-running British sci-fi series of the same name.
cast David Niven as Lieutenant Jim Perry Stanley Holloway as Pvt. Ted Brewer James Donald as Pvt. Evans Lloyd John Laurie as Pvt. Luke Leslie Dwyer as Pvt. Sid Beck Hugh Burden as Pvt. Bill Parsons Raymond Huntley as Pvt. Herbert Davenport Jimmy Hanley as Pvt. Geoffrey Stainer William Hartnell as Sgt. Ned Fletcher Reginald Tate as The Training Company Commanding Officer Leo Genn as Captain Edwards John Ruddock as Old Chelsea Soldier A. Bromley Davenport as Old Chelsea Soldier Renée Asherson as Marjorie Gillingham Mary Jerrold as Mrs. Gillingham Raymond Lovell as Mr. Jackson Jack Watling as Sgt. Buster Peter Ustinov as Rispoli Lloyd Pearson as Sam Thyrtle Penelope Dudley-Ward as Mrs. Perry Esma Cannon as Mrs. Ted Brewer Eileen Erskine as Mrs. Bill Parsons Grace Arnold as Mrs. Ned Fletcher Tessie O'Shea as Herself Trevor Howard as Officer on Ship (uncredited) George Merritt as Sergeant Major (uncredited) Tracy Reed as Perry's Daughter (uncredited) A.E. Matthews as Colonel Walmsley
Director: Carol Reed Asst Director: Frank Bevis Producer: John Sutro and Norman Walker Associate Producer: Stanley Haynes Script: Peter Ustinov (from a story Eric Ambler) Cinematography: Guy Green and Derick Williams Special Effects: Henry Harris and Bill Warrington Art Direction: David Rawnsley Asst Art Direction: Arthur Lawson Editing: Fergus McDonell Sound: Desmond Dew, Harry Miller and C.C. Stevens Original Music: William Alwyn Music Direction: Muir Mathieson
UK | 115 minutes | 1944