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Summary: British Army training film, later reworked as THE WAY AHEAD.
Description: The film takes five very different new recruits, with all their vocal concerns and grievances, and shows how an unexpectedly and at times self-effacingly concerned Army turns them into an efficient, well-motivated team. Domestic difficulties and problems of personal attitude are overcome, and by the film's close the five are able to score a tactical victory over a Home Guard unit in a training exercise and to laugh knowingly at the foolish heroics on display in a war-film at the local cinema (a self-mocking cameo performance by Robert Donat) before leaving to play their part in their country's war effort.
Production Details: Directorate of Army Kinematography (Production sponsor)
Army Kinematograph Service (Production company)
Reed, Carol (Production individual)
Dickinson, Thorold Barron (Production individual)
Pitt, Ray (Production individual)
Goddard, Roy (Production individual)
Ustinov, Peter Alexander1921-04-162004-03-28 (Production individual)
Ambler, Eric Clifford (Production individual)
Wilcox, John (Production individual)
Newbrook, Peter1920-06-29Family origin: Chester, GB (Production individual)
Warwick, Norman (Production individual)
Cox, John (Production individual)
Mills, Reggie (Production individual)
Broadhouse, Lawrence (Production individual)
Parker, Charlie (Production individual)
Johnstone, Joan (Production individual)
Rawsthorne, Alan1905-05-021971-07-24Obituary in The Times, 26 July 1971 p. 14. Papers held by the Royal Northern College of Music. (Production individual)
Addinsell, Richard (Production individual)
Laurie, John Emilius1892-08-121983-01-10Served European War, 1914–18 (despatches 5 times, DSO and bar, Chevalier Légion d'Honneur); commanded 6th (Morayshire) Bn Seaforth Highlanders, 1918–19, and 2nd Bn Seaforth Highlanders, 1934–38; Comdr, Tientsin Area, British Troops in China, 1939–40 (despatches); 157 Inf. Bde, France, 1940 (CBE); 52nd (Lowland) Div., 1941–42; Combined Operations Training Centre, Inveraray; retired 1945; Col, Seaforth Highlanders, 1947–57 (Production cast)
Miles, Bernard (Production cast)
Ustinov, Peter Alexander1921-04-162004-03-28 (Production cast)
Huntley, Raymond (Production cast)
Godfrey, Philip (Production cast)
Harrison, Kathleen (Production cast)
Johnson, Mike (Production cast)
Lieven, Albert (Production cast)
Slater, John (Production cast)
Keen, Geoffrey (Production cast)
Trevor, Austin (Production cast)
Fleming, Ian (Production cast)
Lee, Bernard (Production cast)
Ambler, Eric Clifford (Production cast)
Schofield, Johnnie (Production cast)
Donat, Robert (Production cast)
Rome, Stewart (Production cast)
Barnard, Ian (Production cast)
Personalities, Units and Organisations:
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W
Sound format: Sound
Soundtrack language: English
Title language: English
Subtitle language: None
Technical Details: Format: 16mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Running time: 42 mins
Notes: Status: Despite its importance as the forerunner of THE WAY AHEAD, THE NEW LOT was widely and for a long time listed as a "lost" film, being described for example in the National Film Archive's 1992 publication 'Missing Believed Lost' as "one of the most urgently sought-after lost documentaries of the sound era". A nitrate fine grain was discovered in the National Film Archive of India in 1993, and the NFAI generously facilitated the IWM's acquisition of this title.
Production: Made for the Directorate of Army Psychiatry (DAP) to tackle specific morale issues in the British Army of 1942/43, when conscription had already embraced most of the male population between the ages of 20 and 30, and the net needed to be cast wider, to include older and younger men. Many of the new conscripts knew from the 'blitz' of civilian bombing what the effects of modern munitions could be. Others were now called up from occupations previously exempt from conscription and resented the change in the rules. These and other differences extended the range of normal and often justifiable worries and complaints among recruits, as well as creating tensions within units in which such a variety of conscripts were thrown together.
Production credits: the on-screen credits are limited to the statement "Supervised by an Officer appointed by the General Staff; Produced for the Directorate of Army Kinematography; Approved January 1943; AKS Production". Many of the credits and cast list are therefore derived from secondary sources or based on identifications made by Peter Newbrook, IWM staff and others. The attribution to Richard Addinsell (as composer) is made by John Huntley, quoting information given to him for his 1947 book "British Film Music" by Addinsell himself. Peter Newbrook has no recollection of Addinsell in the context of this film and himself thought Alan Rawsthorne was both conductor and composer.
Cast credits: Peter Newbrook adds that the parts of the Regimental Sergeant Major and the Drill Instructor were played by regular soldiers and that AKS prop men Bill Nicklin and Lance Corporal Percy Stillwell are seen as "the stripped soldier" and "the Lance Corporal on the Parade Ground" respectively.
Summary: railway enthusiasts should note that when the New Lot's train arrives at a Southern Railway branch line station (identified by Peter Newbrook as Cranleigh), it is pulled by 'Austerity' class locomotive No C1 built in 1942. Information from John Huntley, who observes "this is a very rare action shot of a World War Two engine, built especially for economy of design and maintenance ease, combined with rugged performance".