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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

New Beverly Exclusive Screening of Went the Day Well

As an old movie fan I can tell you there’s nothing like the fun and excitement of discovering a great classic film you’ve never seen before, or even ever heard of. At last year’s TCM Classic Film Festival I had the joy of experiencing that rare sensation as I sat in a sold out theater for Went the Day Well? Through Thursday, October 20th, the New Beverly Cinema has the pleasure of presenting the exclusive Los Angeles theatrical engagement of Went the Day Well?

This 1942 masterpiece of British cinema, adapted from a story by Graham Greene, has been fully restored by Studio Canal and the BFI (British Film Institute) and is back on the big screen in a new 35mm print. The film will be presented on a double bill with other classic Graham Greene adaptations thru Thursday (more information on the film can be found at NYC's Film Forum's page film HERE). Show times for Went the Day Well? are at 7:30 pm, and all co-features will screen at 9:25 pm.

Much has been said in the last six months about Went the Day Well?. This unusual piece of wartime propaganda was produced in Britain in 1942, and was the first feature length narrative for a Brazilian born French documentary filmmaker by the name of Alberto Cavalcanti (really). Although the film was not officially lost it has for the most part been unjustly forgotten. That is until very recently due to a restoration and well-promoted US tour that began at the TCM Classic Film Festival in April of 2011, and continued on to a successful run at the world renowned New York Film Forum. Now it’s back in LA at the New Bev for one week only!

Went the Day Well? takes place in a small English village during World War II. All is well in this quiet little berg, so serene and pleasant, untouched by the travesties of war. But all that is about to change due to subterfuge and some evil Nazi plans. Once the plans are prematurely revealed the unsuspecting populace steps up to the challenge in ways no one could have foretold, many sacrificing all for the good of their neighbors, as well as their country.

Pay close attention because the transition from a mannered light drama to a gripping thriller happens so all of the sudden and in such due course you almost won’t notice the whiplash. You as an audience member experience the same disbelief as the villagers as they wonder if this is all really happening. The film quickly and effortlessly carries you along as the town folk realize in short order that they must take matters into their own hands. Ultimately some very nice people are forced to do some not very nice things.

Although there are sudden acts of violence perpetrated by the least likely of characters, nothing is gratuitous, nor will you see any gore. It is well presented as the simple acts of what must be done. However, believe me when I say that the shock of watching genteel ladies behave like well-trained soldiers will have you applauding with glee. I know the audience I watched the film with was practically on their feet every time a well-mannered lady gave an ill-mannered German what was coming to him. There is one particular act of selflessness performed by the most selfish woman in town that will inspire your patriotism and likely move you to tears.

I don’t know what else to say to encourage you to see Went the Day Well? other than this is exactly the type of film that classic film fans live for, so live a little and see it while you still can. And as a double feature with another great Graham Greene story it’s just too good an offer to pass up.

The co-feature on Tuesday and Thursday will be the original 1947 production of Brighton Rock. On Wednesday the film will be seen with the 1949 classic The Third Man, which is considered to be the best British film ever made. You really couldn’t ask for a better night out to the movies this time of year, especially with two movies for the price of one.

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