The Halfway House

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The Halfway House
"The Halfway House" (1944).jpg
British quad poster
Directed by Basil Dearden
Produced by Michael Balcon
Written by Angus MacPhail, Diana Morgan
Based on play The Peaceful Inn by Dennis Ogden
Starring Mervyn Johns
Glynis Johns
Tom Walls
Françoise Rosay
Music by Lord Berners
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Edited by Charles Hasse
Distributed by ABPC (UK)
Release dates
  • 14 April 1944 (1944-04-14) (UK [1])
Running time
95 minutes[2]
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Halfway House is a 1944 British drama film directed by Basil Dearden and starring Tom Walls, Françoise Rosay and Mervyn Johns (who appears with his own daughter, actress Glynis Johns).[3] The film tells the story of ten people who are drawn to stay in an old hotel in a remote Welsh village. The film was shot at Barlynch Abbey on the Devon/Somerset border.[3]

BFI Screenonline writes, "The high quality personnel involved and the tight, professional scripting mark the film out as one of the earliest templates of what would become the traditional Ealing style." [4]



The film premiered in London at the Regal, Marble Arch on 14 April 1944,[1] and The Times reviewer wrote: "The film elusively obtains its effects when it appears to be least striving after them, and an occasional frisson is achieved by acute touches of direction which light up not only depths of human tension and unhappiness, but also unobtrusively reckon with their cause—the war."[5]

George Perry wrote in Forever Ealing (1981): "No matter how well-acted, the fantasy is hard to sustain and never develops beyond a theatrical morality tale."[6] while The Huffington Post reviewer writes, "I really can't recommend The Halfway House enough: unlike the more overt Ealing war films (which this resembles in many ways, not least the disparate group coming together and working together), this is subtler propaganda, and its overarching supernatural atmosphere is well done. Apart from that, however, it offers strong character portraits, great visual flourishes, and another solid turn from [Mervyn] Johns."[7] Flickering Myth calls it "an unseen and unappreciated classic of British cinema".[8]


  1. ^ a b The Times, 14 April 1944, page 6: "Picture Theatres, Regal, The Halfway House".
  2. ^ BBFC: The Halfway House (1944) Accessed 6 September 2015
  3. ^ a b "The Halfway House". BFI. 
  4. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Halfway House, The (1944)". 
  5. ^ The Times, 17 April 1944, page 2: "New films in London - Regal", The Halfway House
  6. ^ "The Halfway House". 
  7. ^ "The Great Ealing Film Challenge 48: The Halfway House (1944)". The Huffington Post UK. 
  8. ^ "DVD Review - The Halfway House (1944) - Flickering Myth". Flickering Myth. 

External links[edit]