Went the Day Well?

Forty years before Red Dawn--due for a remake later this year, BTW--there was the World War II thriller Went the Day Well?, based on a story by Graham Greene. The Nazi invasion, when it comes to the sleepy village of Bramley End, isn't a blitzkrieg but a routine billeting of familiar British troops—or so they appear to be. They're polite, speak English, and even help with the dishes. But wait, the vicar's daughter notices, one soldier crosses his 7s in the continental style. And how could another have chocolate from Vienna? Produced by Ealing Studios, so famous for its postwar comedies, Went the Day Well? is full of types, from the plummy manor matron down to the rascally poacher. It's propaganda, made mid-war in 1942, but the message is conveyed more by nudge than megaphone. There's bumbling and bloodshed both as the astonished villagers gradually recognize the infiltrators, then form a ragtag resistance. And, significantly, women are at the vanguard: One dispatches a Nazi with a kitchen hatchet; another, mindful of rationing, scolds the children: "Eat up your porridge! You mustn't waste food during wartime!" (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Sept. 2-8, 7 & 9 p.m., 2011

 
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