A young David Niven leads a homeguard battalion to its first action in North Africa in 1943. Considering the time this movie was made (1944) the propaganda is pretty subtle, as compared to some other Hollywood epics of the time. This is a classic British movie, and the emphasis is more on the social relationships of the soldiers making up this "Immortal" battalion, than on the combat itself. In fact the unit seems modeled on the Light Infantry regiments with battle honors mentioned from the Napoleanic times when the Light Division first made its name in the British army.
The movie shows the early training stages of the men as they are transformed from civilians into astute fighting men. The film is careful to show that in the process these men do not lose thier innate qualities as citizens of a democracy. They question the authority over them, and that authority has to show reason to them. This is to show no doubt that these men are not automatons like their supposed facist enemies are. David Niven is in classic character as a caring and perceptive officer. He is their commander, but he must earn their respect, not demand it.
A previous reviewer mentioned the film notes the deconstruction of classism in British society. I never noticed this before, but I suppose one could make a point of that. The film ends a bit abruptly, and is almost anti-clamatic. The battalion fights well and stubbornly in its fight encounter against the enemy, and there are some pretty good street fighting scenes as well. Unfortunately, the sudden end I found a little disappointing. The men advance with fixed bayonets into the smoke of war and we envision how they shall defeat the forces of darkness having proved themselves under fire for the first time. This is one movie that might have benefited being a little longer, but such endings are typical of the films of that time. A fine classic, not too heavy on propaganda, with some good characterizations and story development.