During the trooping of the colour, a young officer recalls in flashback his training at Sandhurst and a Middle East airlift operation, in which he tried to live up to the expectations of his father, now crippled but still living in a military dream-world, fighting battles with toy soldiers and grieving for another son lost in action. He finally comes to terms with his living son's achievements, listening to the ceremony on Horseguard's Parade.
With the shock waves from Peeping Tom still reverberating, Powell's next film (it would also be his last full-scale feature in Britain), The Queen's Guards (1961), seems almost like an act of contrition. Here again, the sins of the father - played by Daniel Massey's real father, Raymond - are visited upon the child, who struggles to exorcize the memory of his brother, killed during the war and still cherished by the parents, while discovering his own identity. Only in the extraordinary overhead trolley system with which the crippled father hauls himself around the house does Powell find a jarring image adequate to the tension implicit in his subject. The climax, in which the father struggles painfully towards an upper window to see his son's moment of military glory on Horseguard's Parade, has a genuine frisson of the grotesque.
Ian Christie (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger: Arrows of Desire)