The Way Ahead | 1944 | David Niven, Stanley Holloway

The Way Ahead | 1944 | David Niven, Stanley Holloway

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 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.

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

Art Direction: David Rawnsley
Director Of Photography: Guy Green
Clapper Loader: Wally Fairweather
Sound Recordist: Desmond Dew, C.C. Stevens
Special Effects: Henry Harris, Bill Warrington
Director: Carol Reed
Assistant Director: Frank Bevis
Editors: Fergus Mcdonell, Clive Donner
Executive Producer: Herbert Smith
Producer: John Sutro, Norman Walker, Stanley Haynes
Casting: Irene Howard
Original Music Composer: William Alwyn
Music Director: Muir Mathieson
Story: Eric Ambler
Screenplay: Eric Ambler, Peter Ustinov

UK | 115 minutes | 1944



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