On the eve of their visit to France the members of the Hand & Flower pub darts team gather for a drink. The day trip is being organised by one of their regulars who is a travel agent. For some of the team it is their first ever trip abroad, while for others it is the first time they have returned to France since the war. One of the team has developed a plan to buy watches in France and smuggle them back into Britain to sell at a profit. Another, Jim Carver ( Donald Sinden) is going through a rocky patch with his fiancee, who he suspects considers him to be boring and plain.
The following day the group meet at London Victoria and catch the boat train to Boulogne. Once they have landed in France, despite the insistence of their unofficial leader the pub’s landlord that they stick together, Jim Carver departs to visit a farm where he had been involved in heavy fighting during 1944 when British troops had arrived to liberate France. He takes some flowers to the cemetery where his comrade is buried. He then meets a young woman, Martine (Odile Versois), who he first met eight years before, who invites him to have lunch with her family on the farm. They immediately strike up a chemistry, which his relationship with his fiancee in England lacks. However his newfound friend is also engaged to a local lawyer.
Back in the town, the rest of the group enjoy a lunch in a cafe and then break up into smaller groups to tour round the town. One goes to try to pick up his black market watches, another gets drunk and joins the foreign legion in spite of their efforts to stop him. One of the group becomes violent homesick despite having left England only hours before. After attempting to, and failing to retrieve their friend from service in the foreign legion the group begins to drift towards the docks and the ship that will carry them on their voyage home – and wonder what has happened to Carver who has been missing all day.
Carver has fallen in love with Martine, and she has broken up with Henri. However they argue and he heads for his ship without her. Unbeknownst to him, his fiancee in London has met and struck up a relationship with an American servicemen during a visit to Hampton Court. Carver seems to realise he is far better suited to Martine, and after he boards the ferry she drives hurriedly to dockside and shouts her true feelings for him. They agree to meet again soon when he returns to France.
I found this a totally delightful film. I have seen it several times and still love it.
It is particularly interesting because of the array of a galaxy of British talent. including Joan Rice, James Hayter, Bill Owen, Stanley Holloway, Donald Sinden, Edward Chapman, Hary Fowler, Thora Hird and Brenda DE Banzie.
With such a wealth of talent this could never fail! It is quite good fun and has recently been released on DVD.
- Stanley Holloway as Charley Porter
- Donald Sinden as Jim Carver
- Joan Rice as Vera Mitchell
- Odile Versois as Martine Berthier
- James Hayter as Fred Collins
- Harry Fowler as Stan Harvey
- Edward Chapman as Mr. Robinson
- Peter Jones as Percy Goodall
- Bill Owen as Shorty Sharpe
- Meredith Edwards as Bert Tripp
- George Coulouris as Foreign Legion Captain.
- Vernon Gray as Marvin
- Thora Hird as Mrs. Trott
- Theodore Bikel as Henri Dubot
- Brenda De Banzie as Mrs. Collins
- Lily Kann as Martine’s Grandmother