England's comic filmmaking duo the Boulting Brothers had several international hits in the 1950s, including such satires of British institutions as I'm All Right Jack (which skewered business and labor), Lucky Jim (higher education), and the 1956 Private's Progress, which took on the military. Boulting favorite Ian Carmichael is wonderful as Stanley Windrush, a university student who interrupts his education for the purely patriotic reason of serving his country as an army officer--and quickly flunks out of training school. Demoted to private, the refined Stanley soon discovers that a soldier's life means keeping company with some rough trade, including a particularly unpolished bloke played by Richard Attenborough. Terry-Thomas is delightful as Major Hitchcock, and Dennis Price is very good as Stanley's ever-confounded commanding officer, Tracepurcel. The script eventually veers into a plot about a secret mission to reclaim art treasures confiscated by the Nazis, but the film never loses its parodying edge. --Tom Keogh
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