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The residents of a British village during WWII welcome a platoon of soldiers who are to be billeted with them. The trusting residents then discover that the soldiers are Germans who proceed to hold the village captive. Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
The movie is based on the short story "The Lieutenant Died Last" by Graham Greene. It can be found in his anthology titled "The Last Word, and Other Stories". Ironically, in the Preface to this collection, Greene writes, in part, that he missed seeing the movie because he was out of England on war assignment. See more »
When Mrs. Collins delivers the telegram, the way she holds her handbag changes. See more »
Now I am a sucker for "what if" stories, and what better to have Germans occupying an English village during the war.
What we have in this gem of a film is a great story, we see the villagers pull together and overcome the foe in heroic fashion. We are not spared the horrors of war, I think particularly of the scene when the telephone operator having summoned the courage to kill her German captor is killed trying to contact someone for help, you don't see anything but because of that it is all the more powerful. You are on the edge of your seat hoping the eggs with the message on will get through. We see a lady driving in her car, singing to herself, we then cut to the home guard being mown down on the road, their bodies cleared just as the woman drives round the corner. The two scenes together make for a powerful contrast. Bloody good stuff.
The pace continues through the film at such a rate that you do find yourself on the edge of the seat, the acting is great, though some may find the clipped English accent a little annoying, I liked the fact that there are a number of different accents from cockney to Yorkshire all making the "in it together" message more powerful. When the villagers start to fight back we get to see some hero's, none more so than the lady at the manor house who to save the children throws herself onto a grenade, I remember seeing this scene for the first time and being very moved by it, and every time I watch it again it has the same effect.
As a piece of propaganda it must have worked like a dream as a film it is well made and acted, what more could you want. Even more impressive is that it has aged very little.
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