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Johnny Frenchman (1945)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 29 October 1945 (UK)
The fisherman from a Cornish village have a friendly rivalry with the fishermen (and one formidable woman) from a French port. Then war comes and they must all rethink their petty differences.


Charles Frend


T.E.B. Clarke (original screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Françoise Rosay ... Lanec Florrie (as Francoise Rosay)
Tom Walls ... Nat Pomeroy
Patricia Roc ... Sue Pomeroy
Ralph Michael Ralph Michael ... Bob Tremayne
Paul Dupuis ... Yan Kervarec
Frederick Piper Frederick Piper ... Zacky Penrose
Arthur Hambling Arthur Hambling ... Steve Matthews
Richard George Richard George ... Charlie West
Bill Blewitt Bill Blewitt ... Dick Trewhiddle
James Harcourt James Harcourt ... Joe Pender
Richard Harrison Richard Harrison ... Tim Bassett
Stan Paskin Stan Paskin ... Sam Olds (as Stanley Paskin)
James Knight James Knight ... Tom Hocking
Leslie Harcourt Leslie Harcourt ... Jack Nicholas
John Stone John Stone ... Sam Harvey


There is always rivalry between the Cornish and Breton fishermen, but the two factions have a routine ebb and flow of civil hostility until the breach is widened by the announced marriage of a Breton son to a Cornish maiden. It takes the outbreak of World War II to unite the sides against a common enemy, Nazi Germany. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance | War


Approved | See all certifications »





English | French

Release Date:

29 October 1945 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Florrie fra Bretagne See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ealing Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film received its initial USA telecast in the New York City area Tuesday 20 June 1950 on WNBT (Channel 4). See more »


Arranged by Ernest Irving
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User Reviews

Early Ealing Comedy
14 March 2016 | by JamesHitchcockSee all my reviews

"Johnny Frenchman" is an early Ealing Comedy, produced by Michael Balcon with a screenplay by T.E.B. Clarke. It is relatively little-known when compared to films like "Kind Hearts and Coronets" or "The Ladykillers", but does, however, share one characteristic with three other well-known Ealing films, "Whisky Galore", "Passport to Pimlico" and "The Titfield Thunderbolt". All four are set in a small, tightly-knit community, whether that be a Hebridean island, a working-class London neighbourhood, a rural English village or, as here, a small fishing port in Cornwall.

The story opens in March 1939. The fishermen of the port of Trevannick have a long-standing rivalry with their French counterparts from Brittany, the main cause of which is the French habit of fishing illegally in British territorial waters. Matters are not helped when, during a supposed goodwill visit by some of the Cornish men to Brittany, a French fisherman breaks a leg in a wrestling match. Another important plot strand deals with the love-triangle between Sue Pomeroy, daughter of the Cornish harbour-master, her long-term sweetheart Bob and Yann, a handsome young Breton fisherman. This situation does not improve feelings between the two communities, especially as Yann's mother Florrie, who owns her own boat, is one of the most flagrant breachers of the anti-poaching laws, laws which it falls to Sue's father Nat to enforce. ("Florrie", incidentally, does not seem a very French name. Possibly her true name is something else and "Florrie" a nickname bestowed by her English rivals).

The film was made in 1945, at the end of the war, and like most British films from this period is essentially propaganda. The latter part of the film takes place after the war has broken out, when the two communities realise that they must put aside their differences and make common cause against their mutual enemy, something which becomes all the more important after France is occupied by the Nazis in 1940. Not all wartime propaganda films, however, were deadly serious, and the tone here remains essentially comic.

Like "The Titfield Thunderbolt", but unlike some of the other Ealing comedies, "Johnny Frenchman" was largely shot on location. There is some striking black-and-white photography of the Cornish coastline, with Mevagissey standing in for the fictional Trevannick. There are some amusing contributions from Tom Walls as the blustering Nat and Françoise Rosay as the sharp-tongued Florrie. This is not a film in the same class as the likes of "Kind Hearts and Coronets" or "Passport to Pimlico"; it lacks the element of satire at the expense of the authorities, something for which the later peacetime Ealings were to become noted. Seventy years on, however, it holds up better than a lot of wartime propaganda movies. 7/10

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