Released worldwide by 20th Century Fox, Carol Reed's The Young Mr. Pitt is a static but sincere filmed biography of 19th century British prime minister William Pitt Jr., here played by Robert Donat. Appointed to his office at the tender age of 24, Mr. Pitt spends most of his time in Parliament alerting his countrymen of the dangers posed by France's Emperor Napoleon (Herbert Lom, in his first English-speaking role). The Frank Launder-Sidney Gilliat screenplay works overtime drawing parallels between the Pitt-Napoleon conflict and the present crisis involving Great Britain and Nazi Germany. Various historical personages are impersonated by the likes of Phyllis Calvert, John Mills, and Robert Morley, with Morley stealing the show hands down. Like its thematic "twin" Penn of Pennsylvania, Young Mr. Pitt is lavishly produced, but suffers from pedantic speechifying and substandard special effects.
by Hal Erickson synopsis