Went The Day Well?


Directed By

Alberto Cavalcanti


Based loosely on a short story by Graham Greene, Went the Day Well? is a superb piece of British wartime propaganda disguised as entertainment, a warning to British citizens to remain ever alert for the arrival of the enemy. A rare foray into darker material by Ealing Studios, Alberto Cavalcanti’s film tells the story of a quiet English village which has been infiltrated by German soldiers masquerading as British troops, leaving the plucky locals to uncover the plot and fight back.

Bramley End, 1940. Truckloads of Royal Engineer soldiers arrive seeking billets, and are welcomed by the village’s inhabitants. However their suspicion is peaked by a series of slightly “off” clues – the use of the continental “7” and Viennese chocolate – and before long the soldiers are revealed as German paratroopers sent to set up an advance post for a planned invasion. The villagers are imprisoned in the local Church and must make escape attempts in order to try and get a message to the real British army, revealing hitherto unrealised skills, not least the Bramley End telephonist, who shows unexpected skill with an axe…

Veteran Ealing writers John Dighton, Angus MacPhail and Diana Morgan retained the bare bones of Greene’s story, and together with inventive and non-conformist ex-documentary director Alberto Cavalcanti they produced a profound study of Englishness and a masterpiece of unease.

Leslie Banks, C.V. France, Valerie Taylor, David Farar, Thora Hird & Mervyn Johns
Other Credits

Based On The Short Story By Graham Greene

Release Date
25 July 2020
  • BBC Radio 3 The Essay – British Cinema of the 1940s audio featurette
  • Cavalcanti short film Yellow Caesar
  • English SDH
Restoration Details

Went the Day Well? appears in its original aspect ratio of 1:37:1 with mono 2.0 sound. Went the Day Well? was restored using the original picture and sound negatives. Both were physically cleaned and printed to create new 35mm film masters. Inspection, comparison and selection of these film materials was done at the BFI National Archive. The picture was scanned in 2K definition on a pin-registered Genesis Film Scanner at PresTech Film Labs, London. Picture grading was performed on a Baselight Lustre at Technicolor, London. The picture was then digitally restored using PFClean, removing dirt, scratches, warps, torn or replacing torn or missing frames and improving stability issues. The sound was digitally restored by the BFI National Archive, starting from the new track print. The 24 bit, 48kHz files were transferred and synched to the final restoration masters via ProTools. This restoration was completed in 2K resolution and a new digital intermediate was created. All work was done in collaboration between Studio Canal / Optimum Releasing and the BFI. This Blu-ray/DVD release uses the HD 24fps 1080P master made directly from the restored 2K data. Original materials are preserved at the BFI National Archive. Restoration materials are preserved at the BFI National Archive and the Pinewood Canal vaults.

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