Went the Day Well? (1942)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 13-Jul-2010

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Drama None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1942
Running Time 88:27
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (45:14) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alberto Cavalcanti
Ealing Studios
Madman Entertainment
Starring Leslie Banks
C.V. France
Valerie Taylor
Marie Lohr
Basil Sydney
David Farrar
Harry Fowler
Frank Lawton
Edward Rigby
Elizabeth Allan
Thora Hird
Norman Pierce
Mervyn Johns
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.95 Music William Walton

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, Constantly - this is 1942
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     May 1942. With the German invasion imminent a 60 strong party of German paratroopers disguised as English soldiers take over the small English village of Bramley End. They are led by Kommandant Orler (Basil Sydney) and Lt. Jung (David Farrar) and their orders are to hold the village for 48 hours, disrupting English communications when the invasion arrives. At first the deception works well, and the soldiers are welcomed. However, vicar’s daughter Nora (Valerie Taylor) starts to be suspicious and reveals her concerns to Oliver (Leslie Banks) and the indomitable Mrs Fraser (Marie Lohr). When the ruse is exposed, the villagers fight back with whatever weapons they have to hand led by on-leave sailor Tom (Frank Lawton), his father Jim (Norman Pierce) and churchwarden Charles (Marvyn Johns). Unaware that they have a traitor in their midst working with the Germans, the villagers must alert the army and hold on until help arrives.

     Went the Day Well? (aka 48 Hours) was made in 1942 during WWII; it may be a propaganda film in which heroic ordinary people fight back against the menace of Nazi domination but that does not stop it being a tense, exciting thriller with very black moments. The set up is very similar to that used 20 years later in The Eagle Has Landed; it starts with a reveal of a gravestone in an English churchyard with German names, then goes on to tell the story of the “Battle of Bramley” in flashback. It is certainly a film of its time; the French are criticised for letting down the English and the occupying officers and soldiers, once revealed as Germans, are caricatures, shown as unnecessarily violent and brutal thugs. They shoot the village vicar, slap around the villagers, take children as hostages and threaten to execute them in the morning. Lt. Jung is also shown drunk when on duty, which is unlikely for a well trained paratrooper in the midst of a dangerous and delicate mission. Went the Day Well? is, in fact, quite a violent film (although most is not on screen) as ordinary village people kill the Germans in a variety of ways, including with an axe, as the film moves towards its climax.

     Went the Day Well is a very good, tense thriller. Although we know the Germans fail, the film builds tension well, mostly because the villagers are very well established and we know them, and care about their fates. Quite a number of them, including very appealing characters, are killed so it is not the failure of the German mission, but the fates of the villagers, individually or collectively, that hold the attention and interest. This concentration upon character and the sudden and shocking brutality of ordinary people makes Went the Day Well? a compelling and watchable war time drama.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


     Went the Day Well? is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, close to the original ratio of 1.37:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

     For a film that is almost 70 years old, shot in wartime, it looks very good indeed. The black and white print is mostly very sharp with brightness and contrast even, and blacks and shadow detail much better than I had expected. There is constant film grain, the occasional scratch or artefact and some motion blur but in the main this is an excellent clean print. I have watched many films 40 years younger that Went the Day Well? that don’t look half as good.

     There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is English Dolby Digital 1.0 encoded at 192 Kbps. This was the original sound mix. There is occasional distortion, but on the whole the dialogue is clear and easy to understand and the effects, such as explosions and gunshots, are pretty much as one would expect. There is no surround or sub use.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The score by William Walton is neither memorable nor distracting.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 US edition apparently has a leaflet with production notes. The Region 2 UK release has no extras either but has been noted to have extensive combing in some scenes. That release has an average bitrate of 5.83 Mbps – our Region 4 has an average bitrate of 7.55 Mbps and as noted above is a good sharp print. I think a win to Region 4.


     Went the Day Well? is a very good, tense thriller; a compelling and watchable war time drama. The video and audio good and much better than one might expect of a film almost 70 years old. There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
R2 edition - REPLY POSTED