A classic British WWII propaganda film from 1942
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 08/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Britain was many months away from its finest hour when They Raid By Night was produced in 1942, but propaganda films such as this one helped sustain the morale of a people suffering through the vagaries of war. I'm fascinated by British propaganda films of the early 1940s, and this one is particularly interesting. The action of They Raid By Night takes place not in England or Germany, but in occupied Norway. The general of the Free Norway movement is being held in a prison camp well inside enemy lines, and the British are anxious to get him out safely. A motley group of three soldiers are sent behind enemy lines to make good the escape. With a convoy on its way to pick them up, all the trio have to do are parachute into Norway, find and rescue the imprisoned Norwegian general, make their way back to shore, and wait to be picked up. In command is Captain Owen (Lyle Talbot), who is joined by a scrappy little communications specialist (and borderline comic relief) named Harry and a Norwegian resistance fighter named Falken. These guys aren't Hogan's Heroes, as they keep getting caught; luckily for them, though, the German soldiers and their traitorous Norwegian collaborators are on a similar wavelength as Colonel Klink.
Of course, this film was made to deliver an important message. What can a mere three men do against the tens of thousands of enemy soldiers in Norway? Plenty. Is Norway worth liberating? Certainly. While some Norwegians betrayed their country and collaborated with the enemy, a secret but large majority of Norway's citizens are ready, willing, and able to stand up and take their country back. Those collaborators aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer, either, and fate will not allow them to go unpunished for their misdeeds.
For obvious reasons, this is a low-budget film; even the somewhat grainy aspect of the picture does nothing to make the fake backdrops look real. The fighting action is also a little on the lame side; remember when you were a kid and really milked your fall whenever a friend "shot" you - that's how many of these German soldiers go down. This really doesn't matter, though. The only thing that bothered me is the fact that Lyle Abbott, after giving a pretty good performance, seems to read the lines of his big speech at the end.
There are better British World War II propaganda films, but They Raid By Night remains an inspirational, entertaining, and historically significant film."
Hokey Cover - Good Old Movie
Jamey Brooks | Fillmore, CA | 11/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"They say you can not tell a book by its cover. The same goes for this dvd. The cover looks a bit hokey. However, I enjoyed the movie which was made during the WW2 war years."