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Went The Day Well - Digitally Restored (80 Years of Ealing) [DVD]
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Based on the story by Grahame Greene, Went The Day Well? is a classic piece of propagandist entertainment, a warning to British citizens to remain ever alert for the arrival of the enemy. Alberto Cavalcanti’s film tells the story of a quiet English village which has been infiltrated by German Soldiers masquerading as British Troops, leaving the plucky villages to uncover the plot and fight back.
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Gradually the villagers begin to suspect things aren't right, and then realize what they're dealing with. The Germans cordon off the village and show their true, ruthless nature. The villagers need to break through the cordon to alert authorities and get help. They also decide they must take action themselves to stop the Germans. This is complicated because the village houses a traitor. The climax is the Battle of Bromley End, with British Home Guard troops arriving while the Germans, attacking the manor house where they must set up their equipment, are held off by the brave men and women of the village.
You'll recognize some fine actors: Leslie Banks, David Farrar, Thora Hird, Basil Sydney, Mervyn Johns among others. The film is a well-constructed and effective bit of wartime home-front propaganda.
More importantly at long last we are seeing a proper overhaul of the Ealing catalogue which for years consisted of worn out prints. The restoration of both picture and sound are top notch and easily on a par with Optimum's recent releases like "Ice Cold in Alex" and "The Cruel Sea". With the likes of "The Lavender Hill Mob" and "Quatermass and the Pit" forthcoming, this is turning out to be a great year for fans of classic British Cinema.
The Germans make their entrances disguised as British soldiers and thus the film is taken up with the how the villagers realise the truth and work to foil the invaders. There are a number of affecting scenes, some of them the more so purely because of their simplicity and the "ordinariness" of many of the characters whether dying at the hands of the invaders or performing heroic deeds. The film is also notable for a youthful appearance of the late Thora Hird. This is an excellent wartime thriller and a strong 5* treat.
Based on a story by Graham Greene, Went the Day Well? was made by Ealing Studios in 1942, half-way through World War II. Besides its entertainment value, it functioned as a piece of cautionary propaganda.
The villagers of the idyllic Bramley End are at first nonplussed when a visiting platoon inadvertently reveals itself to be in the employ of a certain power-crazed German dictator. This being an age of limited communication, a concerted effort is made to halt the advance party in its tracks.
What follows is a curious hybrid of The Vicar of Dibley and Inglourious Basterds as the local residents set about repelling the murderous interlopers with vengeful gusto. The tone of the piece is dark and disturbing - unusual for its time and quite unlike the subsequent comedies for which Ealing would become renowned. It is highly watchable, nonetheless.
For this 2011 Blu-ray, the film's source is the resultant print of the BFI's recent extensive restoration. The black-and-white picture - despite infrequent minor signs of its age - is a noticeable improvement over the 2003 DVD release. The soundtrack is PCM 2.0 mono and there are English subtitles. A pair of bonus features are included: a short film by director Alberto Cavalcanti and an audio essay about early British Cinema that was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
For those who are new to the output of Ealing Studios, this serves as an excellent starter before the sumptuous main course of its later offerings - several of which are now being issued on Blu-ray in restored versions.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beguiling second world war two propaganda best away from any Brexiteers!Published 1 month ago by Ivor widdison
Great film, nice to see one of Dame Thora Hird's early rolesPublished 3 months ago by Mr Chris Watson
Another classic from Ealing Studios,filmed in the lovely Buckinghamshire villlage of Turville,seen more recently in Midsomer Murders and
The Vicar of Dibley. Read more
Had been trying to remember title of faintly remembered story for some time - good surprise. Having grown up during the war it had a lot of recollections of country life in... Read morePublished 4 months ago by mrs.valerie. french