The Films of Petula Clark
Medal for the General
( The Gay Intruders)

Released: June 1944
Drama - 99 minutes

SYNOPSIS:

A proud but aging WWI war-horse is deeply offended when his offer to lead during WWII is rejected by the government that once lauded his bravery with a series of medals. Embittered and despondent over their callousness, he heads back to his isolated country estate where he plots his permanent escape from the cold cruel world. When the government sends six mischievous cockney youths to stay with him during the bombing of London, the despondent old man must abandon his suicidal musings and attend to the ensuing chaos of the rambunctious rapscallions. This touching British drama follows the tough general's attempts to control and understand the energetic little hellions. As he comes to know them, he reluctantly begins to care and in so doing, finds renewed zest for life
Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide


CAST:

Godfrey Tearle ..............
John Laurie .................
Rosalyn Boulter .............
Brian Weske............
Petula Clark ................
Mabel Constanduros ......
Patric Curwen ...............
Jeanne De Casalis ..........
Morland Graham ..............
Irene Handl .................
H.F. Maltby .................
Gerald Moore ...............


Gen. Victor Church
Harry
Billeting Officer
Limpy
Irma
Mrs. Bates
Dr. Sargeant
Lady Frome
Bates
Mrs. Famsworth
McNab
Mayor


FILM NOTES:
  • Directed by Maurice Elvey
  • Screenplay by Elizabeth Baron. Based on the novel by James Ronald.
  • Filmed: National Studios, Elstree
  • British National Film
  • It was Petula's first film role and she was cast after having been spotted by director Maurice Elvey who had seen her perform a sketch in concert at the Albert Hall. The sketch, entitled Movie Mad, was written for her by her father and centered around a star-struck Cockney maid named Daisy. Petula, of course, played Daisy.
  • Her role as "Irma Smith," one of the Cockney evacuees, led to a film contract with the J. Arthur Rank Organization.



At the age of ten, Pet made her first film, "Medal for the General." She says "Film actresses
are generally suppposed to arrive at the studios in limousines. Mummy and I went by bus."
-TV Mirror, 30, October, 1954


REVIEWS:
  • Friendly, if slightly naive comedy-drama of England in war time concering a retired General, a much bemedalled hero who goes all gloomy and morose folowing the refusal of the War Office to reinstate him on the outbreak of World War II, but ultimately finds new interest in life in a bunch of mischievous cockney avacuees. The first half is definitely slow and stagey, but the artificial tale livens up considerably when the youngsters appear on the scene, and finally succeeds in making the popular grade. Strangely enough, the practically unknown juvenile players give many points to veterans Godfrey Tearle, Jeanne de Casalis and Morland Graham.
    ACTING: Godrey Tearle, as the General, works hard but is inclined to overact the General, a Blimpish fellow who finishes up by adopting the mantle of Beveridge, while Jeanne de Casalis' Lady Alice is merely (her comedy character) Mrs. Feather with an inconsistent French accent. Morland Graham and Mabel Constanduros are easily the best of the adult players but Maureen Glynne, Gerald Moore, Brian Weske, Petula Clarke (sic), David Trickett and Pat Geary are a real delight as the evacuees.
    PRODUCTION: The story takes a long time to get into its stride--the initial illustrations of the Blimpish actions and inhibitions of the General are a bit of a bore but once the Cockney evacuees get cracking its complexion takes on a more natural colourful and amusing hue. The capers of the kids, although strictly in accord with time-honoured stage convention, evoke much wholesome laughter and this happily endures to the end.
    POINTS OF INTEREST: Artless but amiable story, natural and versatile performances by juvenile players, intriguing title, star values.
    KLINE WEEKLY - 29 June, 1944

  • . . .Merits of conscientious production, and some sincere acting are largely baulked by a temp which is always deliberate and sometimes painfully slow. Both script and direction seem to lack selectivity and conciseness. Jeanne de Casalis and Morland Graham give strong support to Godfrey Tearle. There are also some bright flashes from the children. . .
    Monthly Film Bulletin - 31 July, 1944

  • . . .Sincere and well-acted with moving moments; rather slow.
    British Sound Films - 1984
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
  • IMBd