National Identity and Upper-Class Images
The Films: Went the Day Well? (1942),
The First of the Few (1942), The Demi-Paradise (1943)
FRAMED BY A BRIEF PROLOGUE AND EPILOGUE IN A PUTATIVE VICTORIOUS postwar England, the film tells the "story" of a small village that is invaded by a group of German paratroops and how they are repelled.
May 1940. The tiny village of Bramley End is disrupted early on a Saturday morning by the arrival of what appears to be a company of Royal Engineers. Their CO, Major Hammond (actually Ortler) sets out to arrange billets for his men and is himself offered a room at the vicarage. His second-in-command is billeted at the manor house with the lady of the manor, Mrs. Frazer, and his men are placed in various homes or in the village hall. Hammond makes contact with Oliver Wilsford, the village "squire" and a recent arrival who turns out to be a German agent. The company are the advance guard of the imminent German invasion of Britain, sent to jam British radar. Various villagers begin to notice odd aspects to the soldiers but suspicions are dismissed by Mrs. Frazer. Nora, the vicar's daughter, takes later evidence to Wilsford but he fobs her off. With discovery imminent, the Germans round up the villagers, lock them in the church, and kill the vicar when he tries to ring the church bells in warning. The Germans seal off the village and ambush several members of the Home Guard who are returning from an exercise. The village policeman is killed by Wilsford when attempting an escape. Finally, a cockney evacuee, helped by the local poacher who has