The Halfway House Reviews

  • Feb 02, 2014

    NOTE: SPOILER INCLUDED. The Halfway House is a supernatural drama released by Ealing studios in 1944. A disparate group of people take a break in a Welsh country hotel, The Halfway House, each bringing with them some kind of personal baggage. One visitor is a Welsh orchestral conductor, suffering from exhaustion and possibly something worse, who is seeking some rest and recuperation. Another visitor is a former army officer, charged with running some kind of racket, who has just been released from prison. There is also a black marketeer from London. An engaged couple also arrive at the hotel, but relations become frosty when she discovers that her Irish fiancé is planning on taking a job with the Irish consulate in Berlin (Ireland were a neural country during WW2). Another couple, already separated, unwittingly find themselves booked at the hotel due to the machinations of their daughter. A third couple have been at loggerheads since the death of their son at sea, she blaming her husband - a sailor - for encouraging the boy to join the navy. These guests find themselves greeted by the friendly, but somewhat mysterious, proprietor and his daughter. There is also some mystery about the hotel itself, which one visitor believed had been destroyed by German bombing in the previous year. The visitors are bemused to find that the calendar on the wall is showing the previous year's date, all the newspapers are from the same date last year, and that the owner's daughter doesn't seem to cast a shadow. Needless to say, the hotel, the owner and his daughter are some kind of apparition. However, with their assistance, each of the visitors overcomes their past or their current difficulties, patching up relationships, finding morality or courage, as the case may be. The film was released a year before the better-known, and celebrated, Dead of Night, another supernatural feature in which a group of people are gathered in a country house. In fact, both films feature Mervyn Johns and Sally Ann Howes. But whereas Dead of Night is a chilling tale with a somewhat ambiguous ending, The Halfway House is essentially a wartime morality play, where the characters' individual resolutions involving embracing one's Christian faith or accepting that joining battle against Nazi Germany is the right and necessary thing to do. Despite the moralising and propagandising nature of the film, it nonetheless has a charm of its own and creates a successful supernatural atmosphere.

    NOTE: SPOILER INCLUDED. The Halfway House is a supernatural drama released by Ealing studios in 1944. A disparate group of people take a break in a Welsh country hotel, The Halfway House, each bringing with them some kind of personal baggage. One visitor is a Welsh orchestral conductor, suffering from exhaustion and possibly something worse, who is seeking some rest and recuperation. Another visitor is a former army officer, charged with running some kind of racket, who has just been released from prison. There is also a black marketeer from London. An engaged couple also arrive at the hotel, but relations become frosty when she discovers that her Irish fiancé is planning on taking a job with the Irish consulate in Berlin (Ireland were a neural country during WW2). Another couple, already separated, unwittingly find themselves booked at the hotel due to the machinations of their daughter. A third couple have been at loggerheads since the death of their son at sea, she blaming her husband - a sailor - for encouraging the boy to join the navy. These guests find themselves greeted by the friendly, but somewhat mysterious, proprietor and his daughter. There is also some mystery about the hotel itself, which one visitor believed had been destroyed by German bombing in the previous year. The visitors are bemused to find that the calendar on the wall is showing the previous year's date, all the newspapers are from the same date last year, and that the owner's daughter doesn't seem to cast a shadow. Needless to say, the hotel, the owner and his daughter are some kind of apparition. However, with their assistance, each of the visitors overcomes their past or their current difficulties, patching up relationships, finding morality or courage, as the case may be. The film was released a year before the better-known, and celebrated, Dead of Night, another supernatural feature in which a group of people are gathered in a country house. In fact, both films feature Mervyn Johns and Sally Ann Howes. But whereas Dead of Night is a chilling tale with a somewhat ambiguous ending, The Halfway House is essentially a wartime morality play, where the characters' individual resolutions involving embracing one's Christian faith or accepting that joining battle against Nazi Germany is the right and necessary thing to do. Despite the moralising and propagandising nature of the film, it nonetheless has a charm of its own and creates a successful supernatural atmosphere.