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116 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An official DVD release - at long last!
A wonderful, magical film imbued with all the atmosphere typical of the period. Superb performances and story backed with peerless cinematography (that jack Cardiff would have been proud of) and atmospheric music.

During the latter part of the second world war, a group of disparate travellers end up at a remote Welsh Inn that was supposedly blown up and...
Published on 1 Jun 2011 by SR

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seventy years later, more interesting than entertaining.
I have seen the glowing reviews of this film and confess to being a tad surprised. This film is a product of its times but seventy years later it has not stood the test of time well: the direction is pedestrian and the tension, for a ghost story, is pretty well non-existent. To mark it as a five star Ealing Studios film, which ranks it alongside absolute classics such...
Published 9 months ago by Stephen Reid


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116 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An official DVD release - at long last!, 1 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Halfway House [DVD] (1944) (DVD)
A wonderful, magical film imbued with all the atmosphere typical of the period. Superb performances and story backed with peerless cinematography (that jack Cardiff would have been proud of) and atmospheric music.

During the latter part of the second world war, a group of disparate travellers end up at a remote Welsh Inn that was supposedly blown up and subsequently burnt down by a stray German raider. Yet, the pub still stands and its host and his daughter, played by real life father and daughter, Mervyn and Glynis Johns, are still there. The whole place has an other worldly feel and all of the troubles that the customers bring with them are confronted by the ghostly proprietors. Odd things are noticed by the travellers - the hosts cast no shadows and the newspapers and radio broadcasts are all a year out of date.

This is nothing short of superb and ranks alongside the very best of the war's cinematic output and remains one of my favourite films of all time.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric and entertaining., 16 July 2011
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This review is from: The Halfway House [DVD] (1944) (DVD)
This film was made as morale boosting propaganda during WWII, along with films like 'Went the Day Well?', 'The Day will Come' etcetera. If pushed I would say that this was my favourite of the bunch. We are presented with a set of characters alienated from the struggle against Germany by circumstances - loss of a son, a sea captain wrongly blamed for abandoning his ship, a citizen of the Irish republic. Their gradual reengagement in the war effort is nicley tied in with a mild ghost story, introduced so gradually and gently that it does more in the line of adding atmosphere than powering the plot, but none the worse for that.

It is basically the redemption theme found in 'A Christmas Carol', 'The Singing Detective' etcetera, but applied to the wartime situation. Highly recommended - the sort of film you can watch repeatedly because atmosphere is as important as plot.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic, 14 Oct 2011
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W. D. Davies "Stonewall" (Slough, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Halfway House [DVD] (1944) (DVD)
A must for old film buffs. The atmosphere and acting is superb considering it was made in 1944 at the bitter end of World War II. No swearing and no sex scenes what a refreshing change.The close up of the characters` facial expressions are superb especially when Glynis Johns winces when the bomb drops, and as a Welshman I am enamoured with the voices of Mervyn and Glynis Johns, their Welsh lilt during their monologues mesmerises the audience.
William Davies
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant break, 14 July 2011
This review is from: The Halfway House [DVD] (1944) (DVD)
This is a pleasant Ealing whimsy set in wartime deepest Wales. The war is not far away but people's troubles are the focus. A handful of strangers turn up at a pub in June 1943, the `Halfway House', for a short break. We know the pub was bombed flat a year before and would not be there at all were this not a mysterious time-shift story of a kind seen previously in J.B.Priestley's plays. The hotel register's entry for 20 June 1942 is followed by the one for 21 June 1943. The publican (played by Mervyn Johns) appears from nowhere while his daughter (Glynis Johns) casts no shadow. The guests include a famous orchestral conductor who is dying (Esmond Knight, whose near blindness from injuries got in HMS Prince of Wales' fight with the Bismarck in 1941 in undetectable). Among others are an amusingly discordant couple with their scheming teenage daughter, a cashiered army officer ( Guy Middleton), and a merchant navy captain and his spiritualist wife. It's undeniable to the guests that something curious is happening when the 9 o'clock news on the wireless tells them "Tobruk has fallen", exactly a year out of date. It's not long before we hear a bomber and machine gun fire and see an incendiary bomb. Past events are repeating themselves. The hosts, who should know about these things, have been gently telling the guests they can take charge of their futures in all essentials, and, anyway, eternity is not too bad when you get there. Watch - and re-watch.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent WW2 Ealing., 5 Feb 2012
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P. Edwards "cinemarts" (Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Halfway House [DVD] (1944) (DVD)
While this film has been consigned as some sort of DEAD OF NIGHT also-ran for a long time, THE HALFWAY HOUSE now in what is a pretty damn fine
DVD transfer shows itself as a very different beast to the famed horror compendium.

A gentle ghost story with a wartime message (well, a few different ones, really)and a charming off-kilter approach to the supernatural elements,
it can be recommended very highly indeed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic!, 26 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Halfway House [DVD] (1944) (DVD)
I recall seeing this film only once before, many years ago on TV, so was delighted to find it available on DVD. I really enjoyed watching it again and would recommend it to anyone who likes classic black & white movies with an atmospheric flavour! The Ealing films were always very well made and this is no exception.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Time stands still, here in the valley' . . ., 16 July 2011
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Guy reid-brown "GRB" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Halfway House [DVD] (1944) (DVD)
(As an addendum - it is one of the ineluctable rules of life that any hostelry in Britain named `The Halfway House' is worthy of your patronage)

It is gratifying to read the other five star reviews here and to realise that this neglected masterpiece is resurfacing. As the West spirals ever deeper into the cesspit, artefacts of sheer collective Goodness from our own not so distant past are needed more than ever.

This film has haunted me (the mot juste!) for years now and sitting down to concentrate on it on DVD a couple of days ago was an epiphany.

A previous reviewer here has called this `an allegorical masterpiece' and the name of the Inn alone is imbued with liminal resonance. The hostelry is a magical character in itself, and is the definitive Olde Worlde Inn in a sylvan setting.

If Mervyn and Glynis Johns had not appeared in other films, one could quite believe that these ethereal presences with their musical welsh lilt were truly denizens from another, better, world. Particular scenes that linger are the former whistling at the birds and the latter reassuring the musician one to one about his future course.

All the best films cast an enchantment, and in this subjective case no other film has come near to this.

There is a joyful cast of disparate characters (including a splendid pair of villains). They all have their lives altered by their stay at this charmed location and although the film works beautifully on the level of the supernatural alone, the vital importance of family, decent patriotism (the English, Irish and Welsh could all learn from this) and honourable conduct in life is also underlined.

The epiphany partly lies in realising that the right way of conducting oneself and thus helping to create a genuinely benign civilisation is NOT AT ALL DIFFICULT! The cesspit is one we have wilfully created, Swinburne-like (Thomas Carlyle memorably described Algernon Charles Swinburne as standing up to his neck in a cesspool and adding to its contents.)

So this is it - the ultimate desert island movie, vaulting over even 1957's `Night of the Demon.'

(And the wondrous 23rd psalm can rarely have sounded QUITE so meaningful as here)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seventy years later, more interesting than entertaining., 27 Oct 2013
By 
Stephen Reid "Stephen" (Basingstoke) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Halfway House [DVD] (1944) (DVD)
I have seen the glowing reviews of this film and confess to being a tad surprised. This film is a product of its times but seventy years later it has not stood the test of time well: the direction is pedestrian and the tension, for a ghost story, is pretty well non-existent. To mark it as a five star Ealing Studios film, which ranks it alongside absolute classics such as 'Kind Hearts and Coronets' and 'The Lavender Hill Mob' is generous in the extreme and I wouldn't want anyone to buy this film thinking that it was that good.

The story concerns a disparate group of people, each with problems, brought together in an Inn that was destroyed a year before. Their experiences help each of them to heal their lives and tackle the remainder of the war with renewed heart. The real life father and daughter team of Mervyn and Glynis Johns works very well. Mervyn Johns is a class act (brilliant in 'Scrooge')and manages to imbue his part with some sense of mystery. Sally Ann Field plays a schoolgirl but seems very much forced into a style dictated by Basil Dearden, who directed.

There is some inevitable propaganda near the end of the film, which is interesting as a commentary on the war effort: we know how the war was to end - when this film was made, they didn't.

The black and white print on the DVD is very good: the sound is in mono and clear. It is a 'bare bones' release which means that the DVD comes without supporting material or bonus content.

So how to mark this? It is certainly not a five star film: not by comparison with its stable-mates. In its day I think it would have merited four stars but now I think three is fair. It's worth watching but I predict you will sit through it once but not again.

Seventy years later, I found this film is more interesting than entertaining. It is a product of its time and that is how I think it should be viewed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Film - It Could Change Your Life, 1 July 2011
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This review is from: The Halfway House [DVD] (1944) (DVD)
This is without doubt one of the most moving and inspirational films ever made. It's not a "ghost story". It is in fact an allegorical masterpiece. It is about hope and belief. It is about love and above all it is a film about redemption. No matter how dark things have got it is never too late to change. I have recommended this film to many people who have all felt the same way. Yes it is dated in its style and manner but you have to see through this. If you approach this film with an open mind and an open heart you will come away enriched by the experience. I don't mind admitting, it moves me to tears.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Film, 11 May 2013
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This review is from: The Halfway House [DVD] (1944) (DVD)
I remembered this film from years ago and was delighted to find that it had lost none of its charm - very often re-visiting past favourites can be a bit disappointing. However, I enjoyed the easy pace and simple but heartfelt philosophy of this story set in wartime Britain. I would recommend gentle ghost story it to anyone looking for a nostalgia trip or a time-slip into a different era where time literally stands still - it's another world!
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The Halfway House [DVD] (1944)
The Halfway House [DVD] (1944) by Basil Dearden (DVD - 2011)
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