7.3/10
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Hour of Glory (1949)

The Small Back Room (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Thriller | 23 February 1952 (USA)
As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps on Britain in 1943, the embittered expert who'll have to disarm them fights a private battle with alcohol.

Writers:

Nigel Balchin (novel), Michael Powell | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Farrar ... Sammy Rice
Kathleen Byron ... Susan
Jack Hawkins ... R.B. Waring
Leslie Banks ... Col. A.K. Holland
Michael Gough ... Capt. Dick Stuart
Cyril Cusack ... Cpl. Taylor
Milton Rosmer ... Prof. Mair
Emrys Jones ... Joe
Walter Fitzgerald ... Brine
Renée Asherson ... A.T.S. Corporal
Henry Caine Henry Caine ... Sgt. Maj. Rose
Sidney James ... 'Knucksie' Moran - Barkeeper
Sam Kydd ... Crowhurst - Door Sentry
Michael Goodliffe ... Till
Geoffrey Keen ... Pinker
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Storyline

The best bomb disposal officer during World War II was badly injured and is in frequent pain. He finds solace and relief from his pain in the whisky bottle & the pills that are never far away. A new type of booby trapped bomb push his nerves & resolution to the limit. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Thriller | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 February 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hour of Glory See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place in March 1943. See more »

Goofs

The film is set in 1943 but Susan tells Sammy that it's Tuesday the 23rd of May. The 23rd didn't fall on a Tuesday in 1943, although it did in 1939 and 1944. See more »

Quotes

Susan: Where were you going Sammy?
Sammy Rice: I don't know.
Susan: A woman?
Sammy Rice: Maybe.
Susan: How about me?
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the cast list, Robert Morley is named only as "A Guest", in italics. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The South Bank Show: Michael Powell (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow-Wow
(uncredited)
Music by Joseph Tabrar
Performed by Ted Heath's Kenny Baker Swing Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Archers at their least flamboyant
31 May 2002 | by jandesimpsonSee all my reviews

As I am sometimes less than kind in my comments of the Archers, it was a pleasure to rediscover the other day "The Small Back Room" , a film I had not seen since its original release. Although this is generally regarded as one of their minor works, presumably because of its lack of flamboyance, it takes for once a very serious theme and treats it in a thoroughly mature way; that of the psychologically flawed individual and how he reacts when faced with possibly the greatest challenge in his professional career. Two of Sidney Lumet's finest films, "Equus" and "The Verdict" have the same subject. Sammy Rice, the boffin of "The Small Back Room", is struggling with alcoholism and the mental as well as the physical pain of coping with an artificial foot when he is called upon to discover the way to dismantle one of several booby-trap explosive devices dropped by the Germans over Britain in 1943. The casting of the two central characters is perfect. Although the part of Sammy calls for someone with a James Mason like authority, a much lesser actor, David Farrar, rises to the occasion particularly as he has the advantage of a large lumbering frame that conveys a certain physical awkwardness. As his sympathetic ladyfriend, Susan, Kathleen Byron drops her "Black Narcissus" melodramatics to give the performance of her lifetime as the woman who really knows how to handle Sammy when he is at his lowest. Add to this the fine camerawork of Christopther Challis, particularly liberal in its use of huge closeups that significantly heighten the psychological tension of the narrative, and you have a film well worthy of attention. In only two scenes does it falter. Unfortunately by conforming to the tiresome custom of British films of the period of sending up the Establishment, it presents Robert Morley as a rather silly senior minister. Although this would have probably fitted in the context of a comedy it is out of place in a film as darkly toned as this. Then there is the melodramatic lapse of resorting to Teutonic Expressionism when Sammy is fighting his alcoholism. In this nightmarish sequence he is physically dwarfed by a giant whisky bottle and an alarm clock. This is one of only two scenes to use background music. For the rest, untypically for this period, it does without. It makes for a stronger, more hard-edged experience.


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