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Orders Is Orders (1934)

A brash American movie producer arrives at an army base in England wanting to shoot a movie and use the soldiers as extras. The base commander doesn't want any part of it, but the producer ... See full summary »


Walter Forde


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlotte Greenwood ... Wanda Sinclair
James Gleason ... Ed Waggermeyer
Cyril Maude ... Col. Bellamy
Finlay Currie ... Dave
Percy Parsons Percy Parsons ... Zingbaum
Cedric Hardwicke ... Brigadier
Donald Calthrop ... Pavey
Ian Hunter ... Capt. Harper
Jane Carr ... Patricia Bellamy
Ray Milland ... Dashwood
Edwin Lawrence Edwin Lawrence ... Quartermaster
Eliot Makeham ... Pvt. Slee
Hay Plumb ... Pvt. Goffin
Wally Patch Wally Patch ... Regimental Sergeant Major
Jane Cornell Jane Cornell ... Starlet


A brash American movie producer arrives at an army base in England wanting to shoot a movie and use the soldiers as extras. The base commander doesn't want any part of it, but the producer and his secretary cook up a scheme to trick the officer into letting him use the base and its men. Their plan succeeds, but things don't turn out quite the way they were expecting. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

2 May 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Il diavolo in caserma See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (British Acoustic)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Remade as Orders Are Orders (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

Archetypal British humour at its best
22 March 2014 | by brian-joplinSee all my reviews

Based on a stage play by the great Ian Hay, 'Orders is Orders' would appear to be a standard British comedy of its period - in fact it turns out to be even more interesting. For one thing, in transferring the very basic plot (American director wishes to make a movie in a British army barracks)to the screen, director Walter Forde takes the opportunity of including extensive shots of infantrymen drilling on their parade ground. Thus the film has considerable historic interest as a social document - but even more when you look at the cast. Ray Milland, for instance, as the romantic lead, reminding us what a devastatingly handsome man he was before age and Hollywood took their toll. Or Cyril Maude as Colonel Bellows in one of his very few film roles, portraying a Blimp figure even more wittily than George Graves' Colonel Lukyn in the better-remembered 'Those were the Days' shot the following year. Or Cedric Hardwicke, two years before his knighthood, and already, it would seem, rehearsing his Count Frollo in the 1939 'Hunchback of Notre Dame'. Or Hay Plumb, in his younger days director of the 1913 version of Hamlet, and who ended his career as a bus driver in Clapham, but here playing one of a pair of bumbling privates (the other is the ubiquitous and ever-delightful Eliot Makeham)in much the same droll style as Laurel and Hardy. Which brings me to the central point of the film - its humour. The characteristics of British humour at its best (innuendo rather than obviousness, wry wit, mock solemnity) are sometimes difficult for those born elsewhere to grasp. But if ever a movie could be used as a demonstration lesson, this is it. As the confrontation between British and American values proceeds, the action becomes more and more hilarious, culminating in an inspired farcical climax. Though not the absolutely most amusing of British comedies of the thirties, 'Orders is Orders' certainly counts as one of the most watchable, and should not be missed by serious enthusiasts of the cinema. One final point: the film's taking its title from the catchphrase "orders is orders", common in Britain from Victorian times to the 1960s. When the story was remade twenty years later, the studio opted for the more grammatically correct 'Orders are Orders', thereby missing the point entirely. Both versions occur on the soundtrack of Forde's film, but it's the older idiom which provides, and pointedly so, the very last words of its spoken dialogue. What does the phrase suggest? Watch Maurice Evans delivering it in 'The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan' when his valet insists he goes to bed early, and all will become clear without further explanation.

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