Went the Day Well? : I found this a bit depressing

I found this a bit depressing

It took me a little while to get into this film but when I did, I found it quite disturbing - the innocence of a rural village being tainted by war and enemy soldiers while the children and the women look on was very depressing to me. I'm not old enough to have lived in the war but the film set and the English people were so quaint and then the infiltration of the dangerous enemy seemed so incongruous to the backdrop - it made me so uncomfortable. I think it might have something to do with the fact that it was such an ordinary village - and you don't expect evil in such a beautiful village, but his film showed that war could affect such an idyllic spot (I wonder if there are real stories like this that happened?). I watched 'Yanks' and that was about rural England and the war but there was something a bit witty about it and it did have some humour to offset the fact that war was a very real concept. This film did not have any sense of humour - that is why, I think, I found it so dark. Anyone else feel the same?

By the way, I had no idea this film was gloomy as I hired this DVD from the library and it said on the cover 'Ealing Comedies'. I think I can safely say there is nothing comedic about this film! Quite a dark movie - not one to watch if you feel a depression coming on.

Re: I found this a bit depressing


Ealing Studios is indeed most famous for its comedies -- but the studio was under no obligation to make ONLY comedies; and this is obviously not one of them. So a DVD box that instead called this film, say, "Ealing Classics" would be more appropriate than "Ealing Comedies".

Re: I found this a bit depressing

Certainly a "dark" movie - but it certainly stirred your emotions, didn't it!

Re: I found this a bit depressing

The film is not a comedy as such, but the end battle has a peculiar cheerfulness to it. I'd say even comic cheerfulness.

This is perfectly in line with the Ealing output. Even the dramas almost always have a humorous side to the them.

I didn't find the film dark at all. It did refer to 'dark' themes which were already out of date by 1944 though - the fear of German invasion and even more so, the Nazi sympathies among British upper classes - but like I said, there was a different tone to it all, compared to the early war-time British films.

Done in 1942

Since this came out in 1942, there was still a very strong possibility of a Nazi invasion, and there were probably still some hidden sympathy for the Nazis among some of the upper class -- the ex-king being a rather notorious example -- and some thought that Britain would likely lose to the Nazis, or at least fail to stop a large-scale invasion. Indeed, the more research I do on that period, the more I suspect that Hitler could have successfully invaded and held Great Britain.

However, Der Fuhrer was still hopeful of having Britain as an ally against the communists and would rather not lose that possibility by a bloody invasion. Also, invasion and occupation would clearly tie up too many German troops and resources desperately needed elsewhere, particularly the Russian front and in Rommel's Afrika Corps.

Like you, I found this more upbeat than "dark," even though there were certainly dark and tragic aspects to the story. The ending, though, definitely puts the film in the strong, optimistic arena.

Re: I found this a bit depressing

I don't agree that there is no humour--there are quite a lot of lines that have a light touch--such as the girl firing on the Germans, saying, "I can't even hit a jerry...", and the flipperdigibbit woman visitor, Maude. I even found it somewhat jarring to have humour injected into war scenes, but lots of movies do that.

Re: I found this a bit depressing

Reply a bit late, but just saw the movie last night. I loved it!! The British 'stiff upper lip' certainly had to include a strong sense of humor. The stark and shocking death scenes were to me, welcome, as movies produced in the US were all about the good people surviving every challenge, and that just was not true during WWII. Many, many, many good people suffered terrible deaths. I have watched all the documentaries, and read every memoir of concentration survivors. "Went the Day Well" rings so true to the reality of the time for the British.

Re: I found this a bit depressing

I definitely found humor at times. But the humor is quite absurdist in nature and often tempered with somber, even horrific moments. Sometimes within the same scene!

A lot of strange things happen in this world. Things you don't know about in Grand Rapids.

Re: I found this a bit depressing

hollywoodpsychic -

'the humor is quite absurdist in nature and often tempered with somber, even horrific moments. Sometimes within the same scene!'

And there you have English humour in a nutshell - well said.

Re: I found this a bit depressing

The dark tone is not surprising considering Went the Day Well? was made at a time where threat of invasion was still a possibility. It was within the film's nature not to shy away from the harsh realities of the scenario played out.

"I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not".

Re: I found this a bit depressing

You seem to have missed the point that this was made during the war and therefore intended to put over the point that this very well might happen which in 1942 wouldn't exactly have had them rolling in the aisles.

Re: I found this a bit depressing

I just watched a movie about the Second World War and it was a bit depressing. I was hoping to have some musical numbers and comedy routines amidst a story about England under the threat of invasion. Why couldn't the producers have brought in some Hollywood stars instead of making a film about ordinary English people fighting to defend their country? I'm so depressed. Now I'm going to watch Schindler's List. I hope it has a lot of laughs in it as I will be so upset otherwise.

Re: I found this a bit depressing

You want laughs forget Schindler's List. It has to be The Pianist.

Its that man again!!

Re: I found this a bit depressing

Spoiler alert.............


Looking again at it, it must have been somewhat shocking at that time to see a woman dispatch a German soldier with a hatchet only to be bayoneted to death herself shortly after. That sort of thing never seemed to be seen in movies of the time. Plenty of men but not to many women.

Re: I found this a bit depressing

To the OP

I think you need to get out into the real world for a few minutes, dearie. On second thought, that might be too shocking for you. Read a book about the real world.




"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead ..."

Re: I found this a bit depressing

steve-thomas135 OMG, I totally agree with you! I just saw the movie last night on TCM, and I loved it! The shocking deaths you mentioned were totally NOT featured in movies made in the US at the same time. Good characters always prevailed in the end!

'Looking again at it, it must have been somewhat shocking at that time to see a woman dispatch a German soldier with a hatchet only to be bayoneted to death herself shortly after. That sort of thing never seemed to be seen in movies of the time. Plenty of men but not to many women.'

I love your post, quoted above. I was taken aback by this movie, hope it will be shown again soon by TCM.

Re: I found this a bit depressing

I just watched this on TCM and I loved the mix of low-key British humor and some really brutal killings. I'm so used to American movies of that period cutting away before we see someone plunge a knife in someone's back that it was nice to see it realistically portrayed. Kind of shocking to see a kid (Young George) get shot too.

I also liked how they showed that the smallest things can make a difference, such as the batty old woman who comes by to discuss recipes losing the message about the invasion due to using it to keep her car door closed > her dog eating it.

Loved the acting for the most part, loved the cinematography and direction. 8/10 for me.

Re: I found this a bit depressing

manxman-1 Love your dry sense of humor. I first watched this movie on TCM last night, and I loved it! I am a realist. Many of the movies made in the US at the time would never allow a 'good character' to be as brutally murdered as those in this movie. However, 'Went the Day Well' portrayed the tragic dilemma of probably thousands of small villages, throughout Europe, that Hitler's troops decimated. I also found the bits of humor in the movie spot-on, a big part of the British 'stiff upper lip' features a strong sense of humor, don't you agree??

Re: I found this a bit depressing

It isn't the most cheerful film. Before seeing it, I had expected something a bit different - more like a comedy where they defeat the nazis - the kind of films george Formby and Will hay made in this period. it's quite good in a way, but definitely not a comedy.
Top