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Day Will Dawn, The (Paul Soskin 1942, Ralph Richardson, Deborah Kerr)

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One of the finest British propaganda films of the Second World War, powerful and tense drama The Day Will Dawn features an excellent cast, including Ralph Richardson and a young Deborah Kerr, and a subtle script co-written by playwright Terence Rattigan, who had previously worked with director Harold French on the screen adaptation of his own play French without Tears. The Day Will Dawn also incorporates actual war footage in its dramatic denouement.

Hugh Williams stars as Colin Metcalfe, a daredevil racing journalist who’s sent to Norway at the outbreak of WWII to become a newspaper’s foreign correspondent after being recommended for the post by an old friend, Lockwood (Richardson). While he’s in Scandinavia, the journalist is approached by a local sea skipper, Alstad (Finlay Currie), who offers to show him where German U-boats are operating. Metcalfe accompanies Alstad and his daughter, Kari (Deborah Kerr), to the site, where they’re fired upon by the submarines. They retreat to Alstad’s village but their protest to the local police inspector is a waste of time as he’s a Nazi sympathiser.

The journalist heads for Oslo to file his story but is kidnapped and awakes to find himself on a German ship. A British vessel rescues him, which is on its way to rescue allied forces retreating from France. Among the injured is Metcalfe’s old friend Lockwood, who’s mortally wounded. Once back in Britain, Metcalfe accepts a perilous mission to return to Norway and help allied bombers destroy the U-boat base…

US title: The Avengers

production details
UK | Paul Soskin | 98 minutes | 1942

Writers: Anatole de Grunwald, Patrick Kirwan, Frank Owen, Terence Rattigan
Cinematography: Bernard Knowles
Director: Harold French

cast
Ralph Richardson as Frank Lockwood
Griffith Jones as Police Inspector Gunter (as Griffiths Jones)
Deborah Kerr as Kari Alstad
Bernard Miles as McAllister (Irish Soldier)
John Salew as “Man-in-the-Street” in Fleet Street Pub
Francis L. Sullivan as Kommandant Ulrich Wettau
Henry Oscar as Newspaper Editor
Roland Culver as Cmdr. Pittwaters
Niall MacGinnis as Olaf
Olaf Olsen as Langedal’s Schoolmaster
John Boxer as U-Boat Commander
George Carney as Harry, Soldier in Fleet Street Pub
H Victor Weske as Heinrich
Brefni O’Rorke as Political Journalist
Hugh Williams as Colin Metcalfe
George Merritt as German Trawler Captain
Beckett Bould as Bergen, Spokesman of Langedal
Finlay Currie as Capt. Alstad
Elizabeth Mann as Gerda
Patricia Medina as Ingrid
Roland Pertwee as Capt. Waverley
David Horne as Evans, Foreign Editor
John Warwick as Milligan, Reporter in Fleet Street Pub
Henry Hewitt as Jack, News Editor
Gus McNaughton as Army Sergeant
Meriel Forbes as Milly, the Barmaid
Philip Friend as Pilot
Gerhard Kempinski as Barman, Bia Tonne in Oslo

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