7.4/10
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25 user 40 critic

Hour of Glory (1949)

The Small Back Room (original title)
As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps on Britain in 1943, the embittered expert who'll have to disarm them fights a private battle with alcohol.

Writers:

Nigel Balchin (novel), Michael Powell | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Farrar ... Sammy Rice
Kathleen Byron ... Susan
Jack Hawkins ... R.B. Waring
Leslie Banks ... Col. A.K. Holland
Michael Gough ... Capt. Dick Stuart
Cyril Cusack ... Cpl. Taylor
Milton Rosmer ... Prof. Mair
Emrys Jones ... Joe
Walter Fitzgerald ... Brine
Renée Asherson ... A.T.S. Corporal
Henry Caine Henry Caine ... Sgt. Maj. Rose
Sidney James ... 'Knucksie' Moran - Barkeeper
Sam Kydd ... Crowhurst - Door Sentry
Michael Goodliffe ... Till
Geoffrey Keen ... Pinker
Edit

Storyline

The best bomb disposal officer during World War II was badly injured and is in frequent pain. He finds solace and relief from his pain in the whisky bottle & the pills that are never far away. A new type of booby trapped bomb push his nerves & resolution to the limit. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Thriller | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 February 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hour of Glory See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Michael Goodliffe. See more »

Goofs

A little over 75 minutes into the film, during the scene where the character of Sammy Rice trashes his sitting room, the shadow of the boom mic can be seen reflected in the empty picture frame in the foreground of the shot. See more »

Quotes

Susan: Wouldn't it be silly to break up something we both like doing, only because you think I don't like it.
Sammy Rice: Yes, you've got it all worked out in the way women always have. They don't worry about anything except being alive or dead.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the cast list, Robert Morley is named only as "A Guest", in italics. See more »

Connections

Featured in Scene by Scene: Martin Scorsese (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

If You Were the Only Girl in the World
(uncredited)
Music by Nat Ayer
Performed by Ted Heath's Kenny Baker Swing Group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I must have a drink. Ask me to have a drink woman.
2 July 2015 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

The Small Back Room (AKA: Hour of Glory) is directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, with both adapting the screenplay from the Nigel Balchin novel. It stars David Farrar, Kathleen Byron, Jack Hawkins, Leslie Banks and Michael Gough. Music is by Brian Easdale and cinematography by Christopher Challis.

As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps across coastline England, Sammy Rice (Farrar) will be tasked with learning the secret to disarming the deadly devices. But first he must beat his private battle with alcohol, his form of self medication due to the loss of one of his feet.

The Archers produce what is in essence a tale of redemption, it's a superbly mounted drama dripping with realism and infused with atmospheric black and white photography. It somewhat divided critics back on release, but that tended to be customary where Powell was concerned, who himself wasn't sure about the validity of this particular piece. Yet it finds Pressburger and himself on sure footings, returning to more grounded human dramatics, their willingness to explore the murky fallibility of mankind is a thing of bold and effective cinematic beauty.

The by-play between Farrar and Byron is sexually charged, but heart achingly poignant as well. The pic is at its best when these pair share scenes, the back drops to their troubled courting veering from vibrant (hope) to dour (despair), the latter always staged at Sammy's gloomy flat and the scene of a brilliantly filmed expressionistic nightmare that he suffers. Elsewhere various military types either stand tall or sit behind desks speaking in correct literary tones, their collective problem being that the pesky Germans have come up with a vile bomb tactic that needs addressing ASAP.

Can Sammy come through for not only the war effort, but also for his sanity? Watch and see, it's great film making across the board. 8/10


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