callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

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How to avoid the World Cup: The Day Will Dawn

You could put your head in a bag. Never look at a paper. Don't switch on the radio because everything, it seems, is somehow connected to football. Avoid regular TV programmes because trailers will ambush the unwary. Follow my example and look for good old films hidden away in the schedules.

Yesterday evening I watched The Day Will Dawn, a 1942 war film I'd never seen before. It was billed, obviously by some poor hack who'd never watched it, as a romance starring Ralph Richardson. Richardson makes a brief (though as usual scene-stealing) appearance but the real star is Hugh Williams. (Hugh he? See pic.) Williams plays Metcalfe, a journalist sent to Oslo to find himself in the thick of a Nazi plot involving U-boats. He returns to England only to be despatched with a one way ticket ('Got any close relatives?') to help the British wipe out a target. To complicate matters, he falls in love with a Norwegian girl.

This is pure propaganda designed to show a) appalling treatment of Norwegians by invading Nazis; b) hatred of said population for Nazis and willingness to resist at all costs. It's quite exciting and has some good effects for the time. I enjoyed it, not least for the star-spotting. 'Ooh, he was Magwitch in Great Expectations!' (Finlay Currie, who also features in my favourite I Know Where I'm Going). 'Who is that German Kommandant? I know, he was Jaggers in Great Expectations!.' (Francis L Cunningham). Recommended.
Tags: 1940s films

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