An Englishman's Home

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

An Englishman's Home is a threat-of-invasion play by Guy du Maurier, first produced in 1909. The title is a reference to the expression "an Englishman's home is his castle".


An Englishman's Home caused a sensation in London when it appeared anonymously, under the name "A Patriot", in 1909.[1] It first played at Wyndham's Theatre on 27 January[2] and went on to be a long-running success. It is now considered a typical example of the invasion literature popular at the time.[3] The play was produced by Guy's brother Gerald du Maurier, possibly without his knowledge and with some assistance from J. M. Barrie.[4] The story concerns an attack on England by an unnamed foreign power, generally assumed to represent Germany. The home of an ordinary middle-class family is besieged by soldiers, and the play climaxes with the father shooting an enemy officer and subsequently being executed.[1] The play stressed Britain's unpreparedness for attack, and has been credited with boosting recruitment to the Territorial Army in the years immediately before World War I.[1][2] The play was revived on stage in May 1939 at London's Prince's Theatre.[5] It influenced niece Daphne du Maurier's 1952 novelette The Birds,[6] which was made into a movie directed by Alfred Hitchock.


1914 Film[edit]

In 1914, the play was made into a silent film directed by Ernest Batley.[5][7]

1939 Film[edit]

An Englishman's Home
Starring Edmund Gwenn
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget ₤100,000[8]

Du Maurier's play was also the basis for the 1939 British drama film of the same name directed by Albert de Courville and starring Edmund Gwenn, Mary Maguire and Paul Henreid.[9] A German spy is despatched to Britain to search out targets for a planned invasion.[10] The film, which was also known as "Mad Men of Europe", was released in the UK by United Artists in January 27, 1940 and in the USA by Columbia Pictures in June 26, 1940.[11]

It was the first film with a wartime setting to be shown in London since the war began.[8]




External links[edit]