Friday, 5 March 2010

Forever and a Day (1943)

Forever and a Day is a bit of a film oddity - virtually everyone in Hollywood who was British, or had a British heritage, got together to make it. This resulted in a huge ensemble cast, a myriad writers and several directors.

I hadn't heard of most of the cast and crew to be honest, though Nigel Bruce (Dr Watson in the Sherlock Holmes movies of the 1940s) was instantly recognisable. The story is based around a house in England, and two families whose lives were forever entwined around it. Starting off in the wartime with a brash young American (in British movies of that time, young Americans are invariably rash!) wanting to buy the house from a young woman whose heart is full of memories, the story then takes us right back to the early 19th century, the building of the house and the Battle of Trafalgar. We then step forward in time, with the two families forever locked in an alternating love-hate relationship, until we get back to the Second World War. We meet many characters along the way, some memorable, some not quite so much.

Most of the film is rather light-hearted and there are several lovely moments of comedy, though even at its lightest the film plunges into sorrow without warning from time to time.   Apart from the stiff upper lip British motif, there's quite a strong feminist theme to it, a subject that's handled with gentle humour. throughout  Forever and a Day is thoroughly entertaining, does lose its way a bit at the end with the patriotic message taking over from storyline and characterisation a little, but overall a very enjoyable and sometimes very moving film. If you like forties' movies in general, you'll definitely want to see this one. It's quite difficult to get hold of, but worth the effort.

(Incidentally, the DVD cover photo is rather strange, but once you've seen the movie you'll realise that there's a very good reason for it!)

CaptainD - Movie Reviews Blog

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