In gentle culture-clash comedy A Day To Remember a group of British tourists descends on liberated France.
They are the darts team of The Hand and Flower pub, whose annual outing involves a day trip to Boulogne. Fred Collins (James Hayter) is the foreman trying to keep in order the skirt-chasing Charley (Stanley Holloway), lovesick Jim (Donald Sinden), patriotic Percy (Peter Jones) and entrepreneur Stan (Harry Fowler), who decides to branch out into smuggling.
The trip holds a deeper significance for Shorty Sharpe (Bill Owen), a diminutive, perpetually drunk loner who decides that he has finally found a purpose in life – joining the Foreign Legion. Also consigned to a life alone, Jim discovers that his old friend Martine (Odile Versois) has blossomed, and he prepares himself for unrequited love. As the travellers prepare to return, some of their lives will be changed forever.
The nation’s fragile post-war ego was subtly satirised in this congregation of comic talent, which relegates stars like Thora Hird to supporting roles. Beneath the polite veneer, Ralph Thomas adds minor political points and elicits strong performances from the unknowns (especially Versois). Comic timing is also evident from the editing of the director’s brother Gerald, who would go on to become the driving force behind the Carry-On movies, helming 31 films in 34 years.
UK / 1953
Director: Ralph Thomas
Writer: Robin Estrdige (from the novel by Jerrard Tickell)
Cast: Stanley Holloway, Donald Sinden, Peter Jones, James Hayter, Odile Versois, Harry Fowler, Bill Owen, Thora Hird,