Review: ‘Frieda’

The thoughtful play [by Ronald Millar] that scored a fair success on the London stage has been turned into a thoughtful picture.

The thoughtful play [by Ronald Millar] that scored a fair success on the London stage has been turned into a thoughtful picture.

Story begins in April 1945, in the bombed shell of a Polish Protestant church, when Robert (David Farrar), a British Officer, marries Frieda (Mai Zetterling), a Catholic German nurse who helped him escape. She loves him, but Robert is merely repaying a debt with a British passport and a trip to his home in a small English town.

Frieda gets a cool welcome. Only person to show any warmth is Robert’s sister-in-law Judy (Glynis Johns), a war widow who loves Robert. Being the sixth year of the war, and the era of flying bombs, there is natural hostility among the townspeople. Peace comes, and gradually Frieda is accepted.

On the eve of the ceremony to ratify their marriage with the Roman Catholic Church brother Ricky (Albert Lieven) arrives dressed as a Polish Soldier. She soon discovers that beneath the uniform is a fanatical Nazi looking forward to the next war.

Political implications constantly intruding on this tragic love story, as they are doubtless intended to do hinder it from being poignant and moving. To play the name part, Zetterling was imported from Sweden. No pin up girl, and with a liking for the Veronica Lake hair-do, she has a strong personality but she’s given a limited opportunuty to reveal her range.

Frieda

UK

Production

Ealing. Director Basil Dearden; Producer Michael Balcon; Screenplay Ronald Millar, Angus MacPhail; Camera Gordon Dines; Editor Leslie Norman; Music John Greenwood; Art Director Jim Morahan

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1947. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Mai Zetterling David Farrar Glynis Johns Flora Robson Albert Lieven Gladys Henson
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