So Little Time 1952 – Marius Goring and Maria Schell

Up until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of this film but then an article posted here on Marius Goring – coupled with a scene from this film that was in the Cinema Studio Magazine – and which I used – introduced this little known but apparently excellent film.   The film does  seem to have made a life long impression on quite  a number of people who saw it all those years ago – that is underlined by some of the reviews I have read.

Anyway, as a result of that I have purchased the DVD of the film and will receive it soon I hope – so I may be able to add a little more – and even recommend it to anyone who reads this Blog.

So Little Time 1952 E

Marius Goring and Maria Schell in So Little Time

So Little Time 1952

Marius Goring said that other than the Powell Pressburger films, this one was his favourite.

The film was made at Elstree but a unit went out to Belgium to film various outdoor scenes – ABOVE is one of them – where the Director Compton Bennett and Cameraman Steve Dale line up a shot – and Assistand Director David Peers can be seen in front of the camera.

The Unit based themselves in the town of Leau, a small town with a population of 2,000 about 45 miles from Brussels.

One interesting snippet here is that the Unit spent only a short time in Belgium but still managed to get 20 minutes of quality film which would mean they would use 15 minutes of it in the finished film.  One interesting thing though – they did not take any Sound Equipment so they effectively shot a silent film there and added the sound back at Elstree.


So Little Time 1952 A


ABOVE – An exciting scene where the car carrying Marius Goring is ambushed. 

The plot is unusual in that it depicts a sympathetic relationship between an invading German officer and a Belgian girl.

So Little Time 1952 B


ABOVE – Marius Goring in uniform stand behind the camers with Director Compton Bennett behind him at the side of the Camera

So Little Time is the moving WWII tale of a 20 year-old girl (Maria Schell) in occupied Belgium who falls in love with 45 year-old German commandant (Marius Goring). The film is based on the novel ‘Je Ne Suis Pas Une Heroine’ (‘I Am Not A Heroine’) by Noelle Henry.

So Little Time 1952 C

Some of the scenes were at the Chateau de Sterrebecke – just outside Brussels – as above

So Little Time 1952 D


ABOVE – Baraba Mullen is questioned by the Nazis in the street

It was So Little Time that gave Maria Schell a significant role of the kind that became her trademark. She was cast as an aristocratic Belgian who falls in love with a German colonel – a member of the occupying forces. Although sympathetically directed by Compton Bennett, it proved too melancholy for postwar audiences.   

As Marius Goring said – ‘a touching little film . . . Maria Schell was beautiful and extremely good. It was too soon after the war and people still thought every German was a horror. A year later, and it would have been all right.’

I probably agree with him – A few years afterwards maybe this would have become a classic – and if what I read is correct it would deserve to be.

ABOVE – The Trailer to the film

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (3)

3 Responses to “So Little Time 1952 – Marius Goring and Maria Schell”

  1. Carol says:

    I only have FOUR copies of this movie! It’s a beautiful film that I first saw on TV around 1970 in Liberia, West Africa. I’ve been looking for it for years. I finally found a German DVD “Wenn Das Herz Spricht” that I purchased and had it transferred to 0 region so I could play it. I could understand some of the German. Then I found an English DVD that I again had transferred to my region. I also got in touch with a man in Australia who had recorded it from TV there. Finally I got a copy from the Vermont Movie Store. It is definitely the best quality. Yes, I love this film in spite of the tragic ending. It took me several years to find out where it was filmed. If I ever get back to Brussels, I would love to visit this chateau. I wonder if the interior is the same as in the film. After reading your description, it probably isn’t since they only filmed the outdoor scenes in Belgium. I wish more people knew about this film so they too could enjoy it as much I do.

    • Movieman says:

      Carol. Thank you so much for telling us of your search for this film over so many years. It has been shown a number of times on Talking Pictures recently. It is, as you say, a very good film indeed, and it is a pity more people don’t know of it – although I think more do now following the TV screenings. A small crew went to Belgium to film quite a lot of sequences outside – but they did not do any sound recording there so that would have been added later. I may have more on this film and if so will do another article or send it to you. Marius Goring speaks so well of Maria Schell – she was terrific in this as was he. A wonderful film. Thanks again, Neil

  2. Janelle says:

    I have a DVD copy of this wonderful film. We bought it right after we first saw it on 9Gem here in Australia a few years ago. My sister and I have also set up a website dedicated to Marius as he is our favourite actor and there was no sites at all about him. If you have anymore articles about Marius like the one where he speaks about Maria Schell, I would love to see it. I have bought several vintage film and theatre magazines with interviews with Marius and we a vast archive of newspaper articles about him. We are always on the search for more!

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