Monday, June 18, 2018

Hanover Street

A few weeks back TCM had a night of movies starring 1970s British actress Lesley-Anne Down. I've already blogged about The Great Train Robbery; I hadn't blogged about Hanover Street before. So, I made it a point to DVR it and watch it so I could do a post here, since it's on DVD.

Harrison Ford plays David, a bomber pilot in the US military in World War II. Since he's going on raids over Europe, he and his crew are stationed in England, and he goes to London on his days off. On one of those days off, he gets caught in a Nazi bombing raid in the titular Hanover Street, which is where he meets Margaret (that's Lesley-Anne Down); the two had been waiting for the same bus. Anyhow David saves Margaret during the raid, and the two immediately strike up a relationship from that instant emotional bond.

There's only one problem: Margaret is already married and has a daughter. Her husband Paul (Christopher Plummer) works for military intelligence, although he works in the boring part of it back in the offices in London rather than doing the risky work. As such, Paul begins to feel that he's not his part in the war effort. Back to that later, however. Margaret, for whatever reason, just couldn't bring herself to tell David that she's already got a husband. Maybe she figured the relationship was going to end whenever David went back to the US and didn't want to hurt him, but for whatever reason she's stuck between two lovers, neither of whom is really guilty of anything.

Things take a dramatic turn, however, thanks to Paul's feelings of inadequacy. British intelligence needs to get a file out of Nazi headquarters in one of the French cities, and to do that they're going to have to parachute a man into France to pretend to be an SS agent and get that file. Paul's job is to train that man for his mission. It's a vital role, although you can see why Paul might feel he really isn't doing enough. So when the time comes for the mission to parachute the guy into France, Paul gets on the plane. And it's piloted by David and his crew.

Things get much more complicated when that plane then gets shot down by the Nazis, forcing David and Paul to bail out. David intends to go one way to get to that part of the Resistance that's going to get him out of the country, while Paul goes in the other direction toward his mission. But Paul badly sprained his ankle during the landing, to the point that there's no way he's going to be able to carry out his mission alone. The only problem is, David doesn't speak a word of German, which is a problem since they're going to have to deal with Nazis at the headquarters.

I won't say where it goes from here since I don't want to spoil the ending. I can say, however, that the movie does ultimately wind up being successfully entertaining. I have to admit that I didn't care as much for large portions of the first half, which include some love scenes from David and Margaret, as well as some scenes at the air base showing the crews' briefings; those scenes I felt went on too long. But the movie really picks up once the mission over France starts. All three actors are more than capable, and I found the set design really looked nice.

Hanover Street is available on a standalone DVD, while Amazon and the TCM shop each list as being available in a different box set too.

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