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We'll Meet Again (1943)
Rather entertaining for what it is
This was a film I had been wanting to see for ages, being a big fan of Dame Vera Lynn and it being one of three films she made. It was named after her most famous song, "We'll Meet Again", and filmed during the war in 1942 when the Forces Sweetheart was at the height of her popularity. I finally managed to see a copy on video loaned to me by a friend. A shame it isn't available on DVD, as it's a fascinating period piece.
Naturally, it isn't the best or most groundbreaking movie in the world. But it does entertain you for the 86 minutes it's on. That's what I like in my movies: short and sweet! The plot is a simple tale of success in World War II-struck London for a young female dancer named Peggy Brown, who very surprisingly finds she has a lovely voice. She's meant to be reluctant to air it, but without any prompting, near the beginning of the film she decides to entertain a packed theatre during an air raid. And what a wonderful performance it is. It's great to see Vera singing one of her early classics, "Be Like The Kettle And Sing".
From here, we soon find Peggy has a male friend who composes classical music, and in something of a cliché he turns his nose up at "that popular music rubbish". However in the space of a few minutes Peggy manages to persuade him it's not so bad after all, and he miraculously finds he is capable of composing popular music too! He writes a song which turns out to be quite good - but again his female companion is reluctant to be a singing star. Naturally she ends up singing on the record and quite by mistake it gets played by the BBC. Everyone loves her voice and soon she finds she is fronting a weekly radio series (art mirroring life, as we all know Vera did a radio series entitled 'Sincerely Yours' during the war years).
In the middle of this there is a plot involving one of Peggy's old friends from school, a Scottish soldier who happens to be marrying one of her newer friends. A young boy Peggy knows (possibly her brother, though it is never made clear whether she is related to the people who live in her home!) is depressed at home so she takes him to this female friend of her's who lives in the country, he decides he likes it and stays there. Peggy manages to get the formerly engaged couple back together after they have apparently split up. The female friend has his baby while he is serving, but shortly after sending good wishes to the couple on the air, she hears he has been killed in action. Now this isn't a serious film in any way, so of course it turns out he's just been injured.
And we presume they all live happily ever after, as the ending is pleasing (more of Vera singing) but doesn't tie up either of these main plots.
Overall, I enjoyed this film. Regardless of it's artistic merits, it has a lot of use as a piece of history, as it captures very well the appeal of Dame Vera Lynn during World War II. Archive footage of her singing during the war is seldom seen, so in this film it is a joy to behold.
There is some nice light comedy with the BBC boss's secretary, Miss Bohne, well played by Betty Jardine, who sadly died a few years after this film was made. The acting is competent from all involved. Hard to judge Vera's performance as she was simply playing herself! Anyway, the film naturally ends with Vera singing We'll Meet Again. You get what you pay for.!