The New Lot
Time Out saysThis was produced by the Army for in-house consumption only, then remade for the general public as The Way Ahead. Believed to be lost until a print turned up in India in the mid-'90s, it deals with the training of five conscripts and their transformation from truculent civilians into efficient soldiers and team members. The comparison has to be with the first half of Full Metal Jacket: the films collide at every point, e.g. the antithetical depictions of authority (Keen here compared to Lee Ermey there). Both movies take as central the business of schooling people to kill (a theme displaced in The Way Ahead) - what has naively been called 'dehumanisation' in Kubrick's film. With a brisk tenderness, Reed represents the process as the conscious, willing sacrifice of something precious. Nothing less gung-ho could be imagined than this affecting, invaluable work.