The Day Will Dawn (1942)
Williams & Kerr are Breaking Dawn
If Hollywood want movies to remake they should take a look at the war movies of the 1940's as these are the ones which whilst having a good storyline suffer from now being dated. Take "The Day Will Dawn", watching it is obvious that it was made as a wartime propaganda movie showing the evil Nazi enemy and highlighting the duty of the British and the resistance to do their bit. But it also has a decent storyline surrounding a wartime journalist stepping up to the mark to do his duty by helping the military with his knowledge of Norway and then parachuting in to seek out a U-boat station. The trouble is that being a product of the 1940's it is now very dated, with stiff upper lip acting and minimal action which whilst entertaining could now be the basis of a really good war movie.
Laid back sports writer Colin Metcalfe (Hugh Williams - One of Our Aircraft Is Missing) is sent to Norway as the overseas correspondent for the newspaper where his laid back approach does him few favours with his bosses. But whilst there he not only gets to know Capt. Alstad (Finlay Currie) and his pretty daughter Kari (Deborah Kerr - Casino Royale) but becomes aware of increased Nazi activity, not that anyone will take him seriously and before he knows it finds himself back in Britain. But when Hitler invades Norway the military track down Metcalfe as they want need his knowledge of Norway and want him to parachute in to liaise with the Norwegian resistance and signal where the Nazi U-boat base is which they plan to bomb. For Metcalfe it is an opportunity to find Kari again although he is disappointed when he learns she has agreed to marry Police Inspector Gunter (Griffith Jones).
I must admit as I watched "The Day Will Dawn" I hadn't read any reviews and was wondering where it was going as the first half sort of meanders along with Metcalfe in Norway, suggesting certain things from the secret Nazi activities to highlighting some Norwegians as being Nazi sympathisers but never really doing much. It does introduce us to various characters most notably Capt. Alstad, Kari and Gunter all of which are pivotal characters. Then it kicks into gear when Metcalfe parachutes back into Norway to work with the resistance to defeat the enemy which of course isn't anything special as there are a lot of war movies about people working with the resistance. But because we have that build up where various things are suggested it makes the second half seem more complete and far more interesting as it delivers a tense, semi-surprising ending.
The trouble is that with "The Day Will Dawn" being over 70 years old it is now seriously dated with everything being awfully British with a stiff upper lip mentality as Hugh Williams plays Metcalfe as laid back sophisticated. And of course technically it is also dated with scenes which suffer from being too dark and hard to work out what is going on to action being very minimal due to limitations. It is a shame because as I said the storyline has a completeness about it which ties everything together and it is why I am sure "The Day Will Dawn" would be ideal for being remade, bolstered by modern technology which could do the action justice whilst holding on to the storyline.
As for the acting, well as I said Hugh Williams plays Metcalfe in an awfully stereotypical way, which doesn't mean he isn't entertaining but very rigid. It is the same through out with the likes of Ralph Richardson and Finlay Currie also coming across as stiff. But for many the reason to watch is because "The Day Will Dawn" is an early movie from Deborah Kerr who as Kari brings more naturalness to the role than the rest of the cast but again at times comes across as stiff.
What this all boils down to is that "The Day Will Dawn" is a typical but also entertaining 1940's war movie which whilst now comes across as incredibly dated does feature a good storyline which is well knit together. It is still entertaining and you can see how it would have served its purpose of rallying British audiences back in the 1940's.
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