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The Halfway House (1944)

A group of travellers, all with something to hide in their past, take shelter from a storm in an old inn. The inn-keeper seems a little mysterious...


Basil Dearden, Alberto Cavalcanti (uncredited)


Denis Ogden (suggested by the play "The Peaceful Inn" by), Angus MacPhail (screenplay) (as Angus Macphail) | 3 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Mervyn Johns ... Rhys
Glynis Johns ... Gwyneth, his daughter
Tom Walls ... Capt. Meadows
Françoise Rosay ... Alice Meadows (as Francoise Rosay)
Esmond Knight ... David Davies
Guy Middleton ... Fortescue
Alfred Drayton ... Oakley
Valerie White ... Jill French
Richard Bird ... Sqn. Ldr. French
Sally Ann Howes ... Joanna, Their Daughter
Philippa Hiatt Philippa Hiatt ... Margaret
Pat McGrath Pat McGrath ... Terence
C.V. France ... The Solicitor
Roland Pertwee ... Prison Governor
Eliot Makeham ... The Dresser


A group of travellers, each with a personal problem that they want to hide, arrives at a mysterious Welsh country inn. There is a certain strangeness in the air as they are greeted by the innkeeper and his daughter (Mervyn Johns and his real life daughter Glynis Johns). Why are all the newspapers a year old ? And why doesn't Gwyneth seem to cast a shadow ? Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Story of a Ghostly Inn See more »


Drama | Fantasy | Mystery


See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film's earliest documented telecast occurred Monday 10 September 1945 on New York City's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1). See more »


The action takes place on 21 June 1943 exactly one year after the inn was destroyed on the same day Tobruk fell. The calendar in the ghostly inn shows 21 June 1942 as a Thursday. In fact 21 June 1942 was a Sunday. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: CARDIFF See more »


Die Zauberflöte
("The Magic Flute")(uncredited)
composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

User Reviews

Well worth a visit
1 March 2015 | by SpondonmanSee all my reviews

This was the first Ealing film I saw, knowing it was an Ealing film, because it was shown as part of a long Ealing film series on UK BBC2 from May 1977. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although then at 18 years old the wartime propaganda element of it paradoxically irritated much more than it does forty years later. Is it blood running cooler or a more resigned luxury of perspective in operation? I feel I have to repeatedly point out with British films made in wartime that present day allowances must be made: if the people in this movie had lost the war they were fighting I wouldn't be here writing this nor you reading it. But if the people who made the film could come back would they think their efforts then were worthwhile is another matter though… Every week during that TV series my admiration and awe grew until I realised that British cinema would never again match the art and craft displayed by Ealing at their peak in the '40's and '50's; and by now I've watched some of their classics over a dozen times. However I find that I've seen The Halfway House for only the fourth time - maybe it was meant to be revisited only once in a while, like the ghostly inn itself.

A group of relatively unhappy temporal travellers find themselves drawn to and ensconced in a weird country inn in Wales complete with an unsettling landlord and his daughter who cast no shadows but end up casting large ones over the guests (and us), and for their own good. They were all fighting their own battles and problems but I admit! the biggest problem was that mine host Mervyn Johns was so firmly robotic in his anti-Nazi propaganda and posturing that his imperiousness ultimately became unconvincing and tiresome. It's a very gentle ghost story but at least it wasn't a musical like Brigadoon. Rather moralistic too and there's an array of familiar faces in here to back it all up: Tom Walls, more taciturn now; Alfred Drayton, Joss Ambler and rakish Guy Middleton, all as sharp as ever; Esmond Knight, in rural Wales one year before he memorably played a village idiot and a psycho in rural England; Sally Ann Howes, so posh you realise what today's inclusive society has lost or gained depending on your own prejudices. Sure that's not Wylie Watson playing one of the Welsh porters? There's plenty of beautiful atmospheric photography amid some lovely country and excellent sets. Favourite bits: Johns in a remarkably underplayed scene of mirror-trickery and his daughter Glynnis – like Peter Pan, in a clever for the time scene of shadow-trickery; the extended dinner conversation.

There's a few trite moments mainly involving the belief in the afterlife and the acting is rather stagey at the best of times but all in all it's still great escapist entertainment, which has imho er withstood the test of Time. And to hopefully echo back to the cast Glynnis's gentle farewell: good night to you all, see you in the morning.

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Release Date:

5 June 1944 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Half-Way House See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ealing Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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