Somewhere In France

  • 1942
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, War

Evans plays an English factory foreman (the film is dedicated to his real-life counterpart, Melbourne Johns, the subject of author Priestley's story) who journeys to newly occupied France at the outset of WW II, charged with recovering three machine parts that are important to the Allied war effort. Trinder, a popular British comedian of the time (executive...read more

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Evans plays an English factory foreman (the film is dedicated to his real-life counterpart, Melbourne Johns, the subject of author Priestley's story) who journeys to newly occupied France at the outset of WW II, charged with recovering three machine parts that are important to the Allied

war effort. Trinder, a popular British comedian of the time (executive producer Sir Michael Balcon called him "the only comedian I know who is as lighthearted off the stage as on"), and Jackson (in his screen debut) are the two lorry-driving British army tommies assigned to accompany Evans on his

dangerous quest. Cummings is effective as the American girl who assists and accompanies them; Morley is disarming as a secret collaborator, misdirecting the Parsifal-like Evans and his cohorts, who finally reach their coastal rendezvous at La Rogette with the machinery. Made at a time when France

was off limits to Britons, the simulations of the French towns and countryside are surprisingly effective. Expatriate French peasants and children were pressed into service for the documentary-seeming sequences of mass flight from threatened communities. (Producer Cavalcanti had been head of the

G.P.O. film unit, making documentary films in 1939 and 1940.) The technical talent was excellent for this interesting blend of comedy and pathos. Coscripter Arliss is the son of George Arliss, famed for his portrayals of great historical figures; Arliss the younger had made his co-directorial

debut two years before the release of this film. Editor Hamer later became a producer and director, with a classic comedy to his credit: KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS (1949), featuring Alec Guinness in eight roles, as murder victims belonging to one family. Evans did a creditable job as the peripatetic

foreman; after the completion of the shooting schedule, he served in the armed forces for four years. Upon his return, he appeared in only two more films, turning his attention instead to screenwriting. Jackson, a fine character actor, appeared in many postwar films, but achieved real prominence

as an actor with the BBC "Masterpiece Theatre" TV series "Upstairs, Downstairs" as the butler, the connective thread of the series' segments. SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE, which some consider one of the best war films of all time, was released in England in 1942.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Evans plays an English factory foreman (the film is dedicated to his real-life counterpart, Melbourne Johns, the subject of author Priestley's story) who journeys to newly occupied France at the outset of WW II, charged with recovering three machine parts… (more)

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