The Next of Kin
The Next of Kin, also known as Next of Kin, is a 1942
1942 in film
The year 1942 in film involved some significant events, in particular the release of a film consistently rated as one of the greatest of all time, Casablanca.-Events:...

 World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 film produced by Ealing Studios
Ealing Studios
Ealing Studios is a television and film production company and facilities provider at Ealing Green in West London. Will Barker bought the White Lodge on Ealing Green in 1902 as a base for film making, and films have been made on the site ever since...


The film was originally commissioned by the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 as a training film to promote the government propaganda message that "Careless talk costs lives". After being taken on by Ealing Studios, the project was expanded and given a successful commercial release.

After World War II and up until at least the mid 1960s, services in British Commonwealth countries continued to use The Next of Kin as part of security training.

Plot summary

The British army is preparing an attack on a German-held
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 port. German intelligence use agents in England to discover the intended target by piecing together information from different sources, including conversations overheard in pubs, railway stations, shops and other public places.

Originally, the commando raid depicted was intended to be a complete failure. However, the War Office were uncomfortable about showing such a defeat. In the final version, the raid is successful, albeit with heavy losses. Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 reportedly wanted the film banned as a threat to morale, but was eventually persuaded of the importance of its message.


  • Mervyn Johns
    Mervyn Johns
    Mervyn Johns was a Welsh film and television character actor. He was a mainstay of Ealing Studios.Among his dozens of film roles were Walter Craig in Dead of Night , the Church Warden in Went the Day Well? and Bob Cratchit in Scrooge...

     as No 23, Mr Davis
  • John Chandos
    John Chandos (actor)
    John Chandos was a British film and television actor.-Filmography:* 49th Parallel * The Next of Kin * The First of the Few...

     as No 16, his contact
  • Nova Pilbeam
    Nova Pilbeam
    Nova Margery Pilbeam is a British film and stage actress. She was born in Wimbledon. Her father was RADA-trained actor Arnold Pilbeam.-Career:Pilbeam had widely noted roles as a child stage actress...

     as Beppie Leemans
  • Reginald Tate
    Reginald Tate
    Reginald Tate was an English actor, veteran of many roles on stage, in film and on television. He is best remembered as the first actor to play the television science-fiction character Professor Bernard Quatermass, in the 1953 BBC Television serial The Quatermass Experiment.-Early life:Reginald...

     as Major Richards
  • Stephen Murray as Mr Barratt
  • Jack Hawkins
    Jack Hawkins
    Colonel John Edward "Jack" Hawkins CBE was an English actor of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.-Career:Hawkins was born at Lyndhurst Road, Wood Green, Middlesex, the son of master builder Thomas George Hawkins and his wife, Phoebe née Goodman. The youngest of four children in a close-knit family,...

     as Major
  • Geoffrey Hibbert as Private John
  • Philip Friend as Lieutenant Cummins
  • Phyllis Stanley as Miss Clare
  • Mary Clare as Mrs. Webster
  • Basil Sydney
    Basil Sydney
    Basil Sydney was an English actor who made over fifty screen appearances, most memorably as Claudius in Laurence Olivier's 1948 film of Hamlet. He also appeared in classic films like Treasure Island , Ivanhoe and Around the World in Eighty Days , but the focus of his career was the legitimate...

     as a naval captain
  • Joss Ambler as Mr Vemon
  • Brefni O'Rorke
    Brefni O'Rorke
    -Filmography:* The Ghost of St. Michael's * Love on the Dole * This Man Is Dangerous * Jeannie * Cottage to Let * Hatter's Castle * The Black Sheep of Whitehall...

     as Brigadier
  • Alexander Field as Private Durnford
  • David Hutcheson as an intelligence officer
  • Torin Thatcher
    Torin Thatcher
    Torin Thatcher was an English actor born in Bombay, British India, India), to English parents. He was an imposing, powerfully built figure noted for his flashy portrayals of screen villains....

     as a German general
  • Thora Hird
    Thora Hird
    Dame Thora Hird DBE was an English actress.-Early life and career:Hird was born in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe. She first appeared on stage at the age of two months in a play her father was managing...

     as an ATS
    Auxiliary Territorial Service
    The Auxiliary Territorial Service was the women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War...

     driver with a puncture

Basil Radford
Basil Radford
Basil Radford was an English character actor who featured in many British films of the 1930s and 1940s. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his first stage appearance in July 1924...

 and Naunton Wayne
Naunton Wayne
Naunton Wayne , was a British character actor, born in Llanwonno, South Wales. He was educated at Clifton College....

 appear in cameos as two "careless talkers" on a train at the end of the film. The two men made many appearances together in British films of the 1940s, following their successful pairing as "Charters" and "Caldicott" in Hitchcock's
Alfred Hitchcock
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

 The Lady Vanishes
The Lady Vanishes (1938 film)
The Lady Vanishes is a 1938 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and adapted by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder from the 1936 novel The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White...


See also

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