GenreDrama, War ScreenplayElizabeth Baron CountryUnited Kingdom
Release date23 July 1944 (1944-07-23) WriterJames Ronald (novel), Elizabeth Baron (screenplay) Initial releaseNovember 6, 1944 (United Kingdom) CastPetula Clark (Irma), Godfrey Tearle (General Church), Jeanne de Casalis (Lady Frome), Mabel Constanduros (Mrs Bates), Morland Graham (Bates) Similar moviesRelated Maurice Elvey movies
Medal for the General is a 1944 British comedy film directed by Maurice Elvey. The screenplay by Elizabeth Baron is based on the novel of the same title by James Ronald.
The title character is Victor Church, a World War I veteran who becomes despondent when his advancing age prevents him from playing an active role in the battles of World War II. Feeling unwanted and useless, he retreats to his country estate and plans his suicide. He finds a new purpose in life when he opens his home to six rambunctious Cockney children evacuated from the London slums and tries to keep the mischievous group under control.
Godfrey Tearle as Gen. Victor Church
Jeanne de Casalis as Lady Frome
Morland Graham as Bates
Mabel Constanduros as Mrs. Bates
John Laurie as McNab
Patric Curwen as Dr. Sargeant
Thorley Walters as Andrew
Alec Faversham as Hank
Michael Lambart as Lord Ottershaw
Irene Handl as Mrs. Famsworth
Rosalyn Boulter as Billetting Officer
Petula Clark as Irma
Director Maurice Elvey was still searching for a young girl to portray the precocious orphan Irma when he attended a charity concert to benefit the National Fire Service at Royal Albert Hall. On the bill was eleven-year-old Petula Clark, who in addition to singing appeared in a comedy sketch written by her father. Elvey was so impressed by her performance he went backstage and offered her the role in his film. The following year he cast her in I Know Where I'm Going!, and the two reunited for the 1954 film The Happiness of Three Women.
The Times said, "Medal for the General is hardly a subtle or intellectual film, but it is warmhearted and the acting and direction show tact and good sense throughout."
The Daily Telegraph thought the story "is hardly promising material, and the sentimental way in which it is treated does nothing to make it more palatable."