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Went The Day Well?

Went The Day Well?“A terrific piece of wartime propaganda,
  the 1942 film Went The Day Well? is
  based on Graham Greene’s short story
  of a small English village that unwittingly
  plays host to an advance force of
  German paratroopers paving the way for
s planned invasion of Britain...

IN THE SMALL VILLAGE OF BRAMLEY END, something is afoot. Well, sixty pairs of feet actually; wearing army boots. The normally peaceful countryside is disturbed on Whitsun weekend, 23 May 1942, when a fleet of military lorries come rolling in from Upton bearing what appears to be a unit of Royal Engineers.

Eager to help the British army, the unsuspecting villagers set about arranging billets. The Rev Ashton (C V France) of the 13th Century church and his daughter Nora (Valerie Taylor) offer "Major Hammond" (Basil Sydney) a room at the vicarage, but their kindness is to be returned with unprecedented violence.

At first, all seems calm in Bramley End and Major Hammond's (in reality German Kommandant Orlter's) men fit in with the villagers as they begin to put Bramley End into a state of general defence.

Normality prevails: Nora is sweet on Oliver Wilsford (Leslie Banks); and Tom (Frank Lawton), son of landlord Jim Sturry (Norman Pierce), is on a week's leave from the Navy to get married to Peggy Trickett (Elizabeth Allan).

However, the village will soon be rocked by the truth as telling clues that arouse suspicions begin to emerge. And someone the villagers believe to be one of their own is trusted with vital information before being exposed as a fifth-columnist and traitor.

Mrs Dolly Fraser (Marie Lohr) is to be given the opportunity to show her very human side and Mrs Collins (Muriel George) has the chance to show her courage and fortitude. But will the bravery of the villagers be enough to overcome the Germans and return peace to the village when their every attempt to alert others to their plight seems thwarted by fate?

Another gem from Ealing Studios, Went The Day Well? is a brilliant film and is a fine example of the traditional Great British spirit in times of adversity, showing the enemy in a poor light. The Germans give no quarter with their inhuman cruelty even extending to the innocent women and children.

Excellent performances all round, but especially from Harry Fowler (Angels One Five and television's The Army Game) in an early role playing the brave young George, whose curiosity uncovers the first clues about the soldiers and who risks his life to get help; Thora Hird as Ivy; Patricia Hayes as Daisy; and Hilda Bayley as Mrs Fraser's Cousin Maud, who comes to tea totally oblivious to the fact that the village is being run by Germans.

Went The Day Well? also features: David Farrar as Lieutenant Jung; Mervyn Johns as Charlie Sims; Johnny Schofield as Joe Garbett; Ellis Irving as Harry Drew; Philippa Hiatt as Mrs Bates; Grace Arnold as Mrs Owen; Edward Rigby as Poacher Bill Purvis; John Slater as The Sergeant; Eric Micklewood as The Soldier; and The Men of the Gloucestershire Regiment by kind permission of The War Office. Filmed in Turville, Buckinghamshire.

The film's Associate Producer is S C Balcon; Story and Screenplay is by John Dighton, Diana Morgan, and Angus MacPhail; Music by William Walton; Music Director is Ernest Irving; Produced by Michael Balcon; and Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti.

Quote from the film: "Went the day well? We died and never knew; But well or ill, Freedom, we died for you" by John Maxwell Edmonds.

An interesting and well-orchestrated piece of British wartime propaganda, Went The Day Well?, based on the short story by Graham Greene, will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on 25 July 2011. Certificate: PG | Total Running Time: 89 Minutes Approximately | B&W PAL | Feature Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 | English Language | Catalogue Number: OPTD2066 | RRP: 15.99. Blu-ray — Total Running Time: 93 Minutes approximately | B&W PAL | Catalogue Number: OPTBD2066 | RRP: 19.99.

DVD & Blu-ray extras: BBC Radio 3 The Essay — British Cinema of the 1940s Audio Featurette | Cavalcanti Short Film Yellow Caesar.

"Another gem from Ealing Studios, Went The Day Well? is a brilliant film and is a fine example of the traditional Great British spirit in times of adversity" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar