The First World War; a British Army platoon are delighted to be assigned to a quiet area of the trenches..front line, but quiet. Their first indication of a problem is when they meet the ... See full summary »
The First World War; a British Army platoon are delighted to be assigned to a quiet area of the trenches..front line, but quiet. Their first indication of a problem is when they meet the platoon they're relieving coming the other way...tensed, nervous, delighted to be away, apologetic to the new platoon, and, unusually, having left behind for them their accumulated goodies... but the trench seems fine, there's little activity from the German trenches...and the dug-out is good and deep. But in the dug-out, in the quiet of the night, they hear it...the muffled sounds of digging, from the German miners working far below... Written by
Most obviously comparable with Journey's End, this film, largely set in a front-line dug-out in the British trenches of WW1, is actually quite different; this platoon is a real mixed bunch, from the tyro new, young, raw recruit to the old BEF veteran, played magnificently by the perennially underrated Hay Petrie as somewhere between the Old Bill of the Bairnsfather cartoons, and the Private Baldrick of Blackadder Goes Forth...and he steals the film completely. But this is a psychological thriller...the tension inexorably rises as the frayed nerves of the platoon (at night they are haunted by the sounds of German miners, working below to undermine the trench system)leads to squabbles, then fighting, and real terror...
This is a very early sound film, so, as was typical, some of the acting tends towards the theatrical...but you do get swept up into the film, and the creation of, well, 'Suspense' is still highly effective. Highly recommended, if you ever get the chance...
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