‘Went the Day Well’ is an English film about World War II. It was made by a British Ealing Films studio. The script was by John Dighton and Graham Greene. The film was directed by Alberto Cavalcanti. The film is about what would happen if the Nazis invaded Britain. The title is a line from a poem about England. The film is about an English village in a rural county. I think it is Dorset in the South of England. It is the start of summer in the early years of the war, perhaps 1941. The village of Brambly End is preparing to celebrate the Whitsuntide Bank Holiday. The film deals with a German invasion. This of course was a British war propaganda film. The thing is about Allied propaganda films during the War is that they did not even begin to approch the true character of theur Axis enemies. During World War I the British exagerated German war crimes. During orld Wr II they did not even come close to the horrors either Germany or Japan were perpetrating.
‘Went the Day Well’ is an English film about World War II. It was made by a British Ealing Films studio. The script was by John Dighton and Graham Greene. The film was directed by Alberto Cavalcanti. The title is a line from a poem about English soldiers in World War I. The film was called "48 Hours" in the United States.
The film is about an English village in a rural county. I think it is Dorset in the South of England.
The village was called Bramley End.
The film was released in 1942. By that time America had entered the War and American GIs and airmen were flowing into Britain. The Whrmcht was fully engaged in the Soviet Union and a German invasion was no longer likely. The film was probably conceived earlier. After the Fall of France (June 1940) a German invasion was considered to be imminent. Many doubted that Britian could hold out. Rumors circulated wildly. Thus a story even a rather far-fetched plot like this woyld have been seen seen as a possibility.
A central character is 11-year old George Truscott played by Harry Fowler. George Truscott plays his demanding role very well. He is a rogue learning the art of poaching and the secret paths through the woods. A clever inquisitive mischieveous schoolboy. Angelic choirboy and brave hero risking his life to bring help to his village. He is shot at and takes a bullit in his leg but despite this he struggles on to raise the alarm of the invasion.
The film is about what would happen if the Nazis invaded Britain. It is the start of summer in the early years of the war, perhaps 1941. The village of Brambly End is preparing to celebrate the Whitsuntide Bank Holiday. The film deals with a German invasion. Brambly End was suposedly far removed from the War. Then the Nazis came. They were paratroopers disguised as British troops. It was similar at Oradour-sur- Glane. The war had passed the village by. Then out of the blue the Nazis came.
To the amazement of the villagers a truck load of British soldiers arrive they are on maneuvers. In reality they are German troops sent ahead to prepare for the coming Nazi invasion. The local Squire is in fact a German 5th columnist and helps the Germans settle in. To the children of the village they are soon to be involved in the fighting, scared half to death and even worse possibly could be killed in the action. None more so than an 11-year old boy called George Truscott. This child is a boy of many parts. He is the natural leader in his peer group. He has a good relationship with the adult villagers. His friend is the local poacher and together they go poaching the adult training the child in this craft. He is liked by the vicar and he is a member of the choir. He is also a good scholar and well liked by his teachers. In truth everyone likes him because is is a cheeky loveable rogue. The vicar’s daughter also likes him to and he is with her the day he is given a bar of chocolate by one of the soldiers. He asks her about the writing on it. The word is the German word for Vienna.
The villagers soon realize that the English soldiers are Germans. Before they can do anything the Germans realize that their disguise has been rumbled. They round everyone up in the parish church and hold them prisoner there. The vicar tries to warn the Home Guard by ringing the church bells to signal the start of the invasion. I believe that all churches had to stop peeling their bells on Sunday and at other church events. The only time they had to be sounded was in the event of invasion. He got off one bell ring before he was shot by a NAZI officer. A soldier in the home guard hears it but there are no other peels so they do not attach any importance to it. Later when they are returning home they are ambushed and killed.
The inhabitants who did important jobs were allowed back. The post mistress was sent back to the post office to work the telephone switchboard. The postal service from Upton was allowed in to deliver and collect the post. The newspaper boy delivered the newspapers as usual.
The adults both men and Women were confined to the Parish Church. The children were sent to the manor house along with several female captives to look after the youngsters.
George Truscott was an evacuee from London. George knew how to escape to bring help. He was shot at and wounded by a German guard who fired at him as he made his escape.
The adults try to fight back. The Post mistress throws pepper in the face of a German solder and bashes him on the head. She tries to telephone the exchange but the girls think it is only a local call and do not respond. The post mistress is then killed by the soldier she attacked. So it goes on. The villagers do break out of the church after the fifth columnist is discovered and killed. The villagers hold up in the manor house which they fortify it the best they can. The children are placed in an upstairs room. It is then that George Truscott decides to risk his life and go for help. He meets up with the poacher and he explains what has happened. The poacher leads the way through the woods. They are spotted and the poacher is killed. George Truscott is hit in the leg but managers to sneak through the wood to the next village. He tells what has happened and collapses from exhaustion and from his injury. The real British army is called out and goes to rescue the beleaguered Brambly
The village had put up a good fight. The children had nearly been killed when a hand grenade came crashing through a window. The heroic lady of the manor picked it up and rushed outside where it exploded.
The film ends with the sexton explaining that the only piece of England the German solders got was the grave were they are buried.
George wears a variety of costumes throughout the film. At school he is dressed in blazer, white shirt, tie and long trousers. In the choir he is dressed in choir boy clothes. When he is out poaching he dresses in poaching clothes. George wears long trousers in the film. Most boys his age are costumed in short trousers in British films at the time. I'm not sure why long trousers were chosen for his costume.
A reader writes, "Its a good film and the film's plot has over the years been used in other movies. It is a film of contrasts. First you have a peaceful English village and then they are captured and then they fight back. All the villagers as well as the children are caught up in their own little war. The villagers experience sudden death from the Nazi soldiers and the fifth colomist as they try to get outside their village and raise the alarm. The story is told in an interesting way. When the film starts World War II is over and the Sexton is talking as if the film audience are a coach party of tourists visiting the village to learn about the role it played in the War. The sexton then shows the grave of the German soldiers who died and then the story is told in flash back. I'm not sure but it might have had another title in the United States."
This of course was a British war propaganda film. The thing is about Allied propaganda films during the War is that they did not even begin to approch the true character of theur Axis enemies. During World War I the British exagerated German war crimes. During orld Wr II they did not even come close to the horrors either Germany or Japan were perpetrating. A good example here is what the Germans actually did in an occupied village in France--Oradour-sur-Glane. That was an exceptional incident in France. It was not in the East. Other villages destroyed by the Germans are well known: Lidice, Czechoslovkia (June 10, 1942),
Marzabotto, Italy (September 8 - October 5, 1944), Distomon, Greece (June 10, 1944), and Maille, France (August 25, 1944). These incidents are well knowm. There are countless villages in the East that are lost to history.
England had one of the world's most important film industries at the time of World war II. Although not quite up to Hollywood, the British made many important films. We know that the British film studios like Ealing mafe many important films during the war. Dilms like "Mrs Miniver" even won an oscar. What we are less familiar with is how German films handled the issue of the rise of the NAZIs before the outbreak of the War. Film studios in the 1920s including German studios made anti-war films in the 1920s. We are unsure as to just when attitudes began to change in the 1930s. During the War of course censorship and war acts gave the HGovernment the ability to control film content. This was not the case before the War.
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