This cozy looking little British war movie is usually a big surprise to lovers of Carry On comedies or stiff upper lip dramas. There are a lot of stiff upper lips, all right, but they're hiding ferocious patriotism.
|The Vicar and his daughter, Nora|
Released in 1944, from a superb story by Graham Greene, Went the Day Well opens in a bucolic, almost relentlessly quaint English village. The story is introduced in deceptively cozy tones by a pipe-smoking villager, played by Mervyn Johns. fSheep and cows browse the fields. Lovely green trees line the lanes. The village postman bicycles down the main street. The residents are preparing for a wedding; the first sign that there's a war going on is the fact that the groom is in uniform, on leave from the Navy. The church choir are rehearsing for the event.
|Marie Lohr as the lady of the manor, Mrs. Fraser|
|Ths poacher, his dog, and the evacuee|
Then the cozy dynamic suddenly changes.
BIG SPOILERS -- BEWARE!
|Leslie Banks, right, is even more welcoming that he seems|
This is just the first shock to the viewer. The villagers soon discover the reality of this silent incursion, but the Nazis have overwhelming numbers and arms, and soon the majority of the townspeople are rounded up and confined in the parish church. The white-haired vicar attempts to warn the other residents by ringing the church bell, and is summarily shot dead by the Nazi soldiers.
|The vicar defies the enemy|
|Charlie, the mild-mannered sexton, coolly slays an enemy soldier|
|The Land Girls arm themseslves|
Meanwhile, the villagers assemble in the Manor House and defend against an armed onslaught by the Germans. Here, in almost the most startling moments in a very surprising movie, the Vicar's daughter and Mrs. Fraser take matters into their own hands.
|Nora takes her revenge against the enemy agent|
Eventually they are relieved by real soldiers called out from the nearest base. The everyday, ordinary British people have defeated a highly trained, heavily armed, experienced enemy -- not without losses, but in every way giving as good as they got.
|Mrs. Fraser thinks fast when a grenade threatens the village children|
Went The Day Well on IMDB