Tuesday, 19 January 2010

No Room at the Inn (1948)


Directed by Daniel Birt, and with a script co-written by Dylan Thomas (from the Joan Temple play), this witty and unsettling movie features a barnstorming performance from Freda Jackson as Mrs. Voray, an on-the-make harridan terrorising evacuees and orphaned kids placed in her care in a Northern town during WII. Jackson had played this role on stage and it shows: her memorable performance is forceful but nuanced, and even finds some sympathetic notes in a pretty heinous character. An evocative portrait of war-time Britain, the film has some memorably tart dialogue that raises gender and class issues without fuss, good performances from its child actors, and a superb scene in which our anti-heroine expertly manipulates the smitten men-in-power at a town council meeting. With lost gems like this, as well as all the bona fide classics of the time, the '40s were truly a Golden Age in British filmmaking, seems to me.

4 comments:

  1. I thought it was excellent. As far as I know it's not on DVD, though, and I've never spotted a TV screening. I watched it in the BFI Mediatheque.

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  2. I was told that the plot was set in Nottingham. But so far, uncorroborated.
    Would like to know. Thanks

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    1. It's possible. I wasn't able to find out. Ms. Jackson was born in Nottingham, apparently...

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