Movies Bells Go Down, The (1943, Tommy Trinder, James Mason) Published 8 months ago on September 24, 2018 Tommy Trinder and James Mason star in stirring wartime propaganda drama The Bells Go Down that praises the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS), the army of volunteers who kept the flames at bay in Britain’s cities during the Blitz. With the pilots of The Battle of Britain receiving so many accolades during any Battle of Britain remembrances, it’s only right that the less glamorous boys of the AFS are remembered. After all, they had to clear up the mess that resulted whenever the German bombers broke through the Spitfire defence. Top music hall comedian Trinder plays Tommy Turk, a cockney chancer who’s fast losing friends and money down the dogs. In an effort to make his mother, played by Beatrice Varley, proud, he enrols with the local AFS division. It’s a motley crew, gathered from all walks of life including young James Mason, crook Sam (Mervyn Johns) and the team’s despised leader, District Officer McFarlane. Overcoming personal differences and the difficulties of their domestic lives, they risk life and limb to save London’s East End from the devastating effects of the Luftwaffe’s bombing raids, graphically reproduced with blazing special effects described by Variety as ‘thrillingly effective’. Director Dearden (The League of Gentlemen, The Smallest Show on Earth) is brave enough to show the terrible sacrifices made by the amateur fire-fighters, but as you’d expect from an Ealing production, his film possesses a fighting spirit that never dwindles. Adapted from Stephen Black’s novel by Roger MacDougall (author of The Man in the White Suit), the script ensures a lively pace and sympathetic characters, while Trinder injects much humour and a strong cast avoids the debilitating sentimentality that flaws so much of Hollywood’s equivalent output. Certainly the staged drama cannot compete with the blistering force of Humphrey Jennings’s quasi-documentary, Fires Were Started (released in the same month), but The Bells Go Down shows the cinema of propaganda at its best, and acts as a testament to the courage of the unsung heroes in Britain’s war effort. production details UK | 90 minutes | 1943 Director: Basil Dearden Writer: Roger MacDougall (from a novel by Stephen Black) cast William Hartnell as Brookes Mervyn Johns as Sam Tommy Trinder as Tommy Turk Philippa Hiatt as Nan James Mason as Ted Robbins Philip Friend as Bob Finlay Currie as District Officer McFarlane Meriel Forbes as Susie DramaFinlay CurrieJames MasonMeriel ForbesMervyn JohnsPhilip FriendPhilippa HiattTommy TrinderWarWilliam Hartnell Advertisement advertisement and this just in Episodes3 hours ago Victorian Sensations: Seeing and Believing Series Final Wed 5 Jun on BBC Four In the final episode of this series, psychotherapist Philippa Perry explores how the late Victorian passion for science co-existed with... 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