Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Basil Dean|
|Produced by||Alexander Korda|
|Written by||John Galsworthy (story)
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||7 January 1940|
|Running time||72 minutes|
21 Days, also known as 21 Days Together in the U.S., is a 1940 British drama film based on the short play The First and the Last by John Galsworthy. It was directed by Basil Dean and stars Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier and Leslie Banks. It was filmed in black and white.
Larry Durrant is a bit of a disappointment to his family, and even more so when he kills the husband of his lover Wanda. The husband, Henry Wallen, showed up on Wanda’s doorstep after being missing for a long time. Henry threatens to kill Wanda and Larry decides to kill him.
Larry stows Henry’s corpse away in an abandoned archway at Glove Lane. Afterwards he goes to his do-good brother Keith for some advice. Keith is a successful attorney with a brilliant mind, well on his way to becoming a judge. When Larry tells him what he’s done, Keith wants him to leave the country for a while, and spare them both some trouble, not spoiling Keith’s career by having a murderer for a brother and saving Larry from going to jail.
However, Larry refuses to leave, and returns to the alley where he left the body. There he encounters John Evan, a former minister turned bum. Evan unfortunately picks up the gloves Larry had dropped in the street, which results in him later being arrested for Wallen's murder. The police claims there is enough circumstantial evidence with the bloody gloves he had on him.
Larry learns of Evan's arrest; he considers himself a free man and decides to marry Wanda. They plan on living an idyllic existence in the three weeks before Evan's trial, and then Larry will turn himself in for murder. While Evan is getting ready to die for the murder he didn’t commit, Wanda and Larry try to fit thirty years of living into the three weeks they have at their disposal. On the day that Evan is sentenced to hang, Keith begs his brother to remain silent and let the condemned man die. Larry, set on doing the right for once in his life, refuses and leaves for the police station, only to be stopped on the steps by Wanda. She has read the newspaper, telling of Evan’s demise from a heart attack on his way to jail.
- Vivien Leigh as Wanda
- Laurence Olivier as Larry Durrant
- Leslie Banks as Keith Durrant
- Francis L. Sullivan as Mander
- David Horne as Beavis
- Hay Petrie as John Aloysius Evan
- William Dewhurst as the Lord Chief Justice
- Esme Percy as Henry Wallen
- Frederick Lloyd as Swinton
- Robert Newton as Tolly
- Victor Rietti as Antonio
- Morris Harvey as Alexander MacPherson
- Elliott Mason as Frau Grunlich
- Arthur Young as Ascher
- Meinhart Maur as Carl Grunlich