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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The poem from which the title is taken and which appears at the start of the film, is actually the second of four epitaphs written by Greek scholar John Maxwell Edmonds. These were written for graves and memorials for those who died in battle. The actual title is "On Some who died early in the Day of Battle". Another of Edmonds' epitaphs is 'When you go home, tell them of us and say, / For your tomorrows these gave their today". See more »
They make it clear the German corporal can not understand or speak English but later he is given a command in English and passes it on. See more »
Alberto Cavalcanti's outstanding piece of wartime propaganda is worthy of Hitchcock at his best. It's a surprisingly bleak and sometimes vicious study of British resilience, light years away from the dull Hollywood sentimentality of "Mrs Miniver". It's about a group of Fifth Columnists who take over a small British village in 1942 in preparation for the German invasion and of how the villagers fight back.
It has all the usual stereotypical villagers, (the post-mistress, the squire etc), but these clichéd parts are turned on their heads with surprisingly suspenseful results. Good performances, too, from everybody in a film that is largely undervalued, certainly in this country where we are inclined to acknowledge our 'heroism' but draw the line at going beyond that, as this film does, somewhat uncomfortably.
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