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Millions Like Us (1943, Patricia Roc, Gordon Jackson)

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Warmly co-written and very well co-directed by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, Millions Like Us provides a vivid and realistic portrait of a British family during World War Two. In 1939 father Moore Marriott joins the Home Guard and learns to look after himself, while Valentine Dunn returns to her pre-war job as a telephonist. Her sister Joy Shelton joins the ATS and son John Boxer is sent overseas with the army. The focus, however, is on Patricia Roc, the baby of the family and its drudge, who becomes a factory worker and goes to live in a hostel where she becomes friends with Megs Jenkins, Terry Randal and wealthy socialite Anne Crawford, who finds factory life difficult. Crawford falls for factory foreman Eric Portman, in spite of having considered herself superior to men ‘of this type’.

He goes on to break her out of what he considers her selfish way of life – and Roc, too, finds romance with shy Scottish air gunner Gordon Jackson. Launder and Gilliat at times provide a near-documentary-style approach, particularly with scenes of work in the aircraft factory and in their detail of the manners and mores of the period, while, entertainingly, they brought back the characters of the archetypal Englishmen Charters and Caldicott, who they had created for Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes, once again incarnated to perfection by Basil Radford and Nauton Wayne.

Millions Like Us

Writers and Directors: Frank Launder, Sidney Gilliat

production details
GB / 103 minutes / 1943

cast
Patricia Roc as Celia Crowson
Gordon Jackson as Fred Blake
Anne Crawford as Jennifer Knowles
Moore Marriott as Jim Crowson
Basil Radford as Charters
Megs Jenkins as Gwen Price
Eric Portman as Charlie Forbes
Joy Shelton as Phyllis Crowson
Naunton Wayne as Caldicott
Terry Randall as Annie
Amy Veness as Mrs. Blythe
Brenda Bruce as Brenda
Irene Handl as Landlady

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