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United Kingdom 1942
Directed by
Alberto Cavalcanti
88 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Went The Day Well?

The British cranked out many propaganda films during and immediately after WWII but, this one, based on a story by Graham Greene, is remarkable for the level of its demonization of the Gerry, even for Ealing Studios producer Michael Balcon whose avowed mission was to build national pride through film.

The rather improbable premise is that a battalion of Germans, disguised as British soldiers, takes over the idyllically peaceful Home County hamlet of Bramley End in preparation for a full-scale Nazi invasion, something which was a fear at the time (as was the fear that some toffs, represented here by Leslie Banks would actually welcome Fascist rule).

The film contrasts picture-book English rural life with its ancient church and vicar, landed gentry and good-hearted common-folk with the boorish and violent Hun and has the former banding together to deal with the invaders whose swinish ways, which include shooting the vicar point-blank and drinking coffee, justify all manner of vengeance on the part of the villagers. Understandably a hit in its day it is now a museum piece that can still be appreciated for its depiction of timeless English rural life which, unlike British pluck, still captures the imagination




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