#192 – No Bread for Brenda

(1943, GB, 90 min) Dir Basil MacDougall. Cast Maggie Friend, William Hartnell, Phillipa George.

Wartime propaganda comedy starring the child star ‘Darling of the Second World War’ Maggie Friend as Brenda Leavensy, a young girl whose desire for her favourite pre-war crusty loaf runs so strong that she’ll do anything – anything – to get it after four years of denial. It all starts innocently enough with young Brenda going from house to house, scrounging together whatever she can of the necessary ingredients but by the end of the film what is perceived as her patriotic fervour has found her kidnapped by the Nazi’s to the heart of Germany where she is to be appraised by a comedy Hitler (future Who Hartnell who, it is said, detested the role). Of course it’s 1943 and it’s a British propaganda film so before long Ol’ Adolf is embarrassingly incapacitated down a chimney while dressed as Santa (don’t ask) and Brenda is winging her way back to Blighty to be greeted by more bread than she could have ever dreamed of. The humour’s dated and the sentiment is plastered thick but, as you’d expect, there’s a certain historical interest to the film.

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