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Customer Review

on 14 July 2011
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something curious is happening when the 9 o'clock news on the wireless tells them "Tobruk has fallen", exactly a year out of date.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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