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The Halfway House

The Halfway House title card

Year - 1944
Studio - Ealing Studios
Stars - Francoise Rosay, Tom Walls, Mervyn Johns, Glynis Johns, Alfred Drayton, Esmond Knight, Sally Ann Howes, Richard Bird, Valerie White
Director - Basil Dearden
Writing Credits - Angus MacPhail, Diana Morgan, T.E.B. Clark, (screenplay), Denis Ogden (play, suggested by)
Music - Lord Berners


Several groups of people, all experiencing problems in their lives, have arrived to spend a vacation at "The Halfway House", in the Welsh countryside. David Davies (Esmond Knight) is a famous musical conductor whose doctor has warned to rest for the sake of his fragile health. Joanna French (Sally Ann Howes) has conspired to have her bickering parents (Richard Bird and Valerie White) bring her there in hopes of saving their failing marriage. Captain Meadows, (Tom Walls), and his wife Alice, (Francoise Rosay), are grieving over the loss of their son, killed in a ship accident.

The Halfway House poster

Their host at the the Halfway House is Rhys (Mervyn Johns) and his daughter Gwyneth (Glynis Johns).

The guests eventually discover that the inn seems to be stuck in time — radio broadcasts and newspapers are from a year ago. Some also observe that the proprietor and his daughter appear to cast no shadow.

The visitors ultimately learn the truth about the Halfway House. It was destroyed by German bombing a year ago, and Rhys and Gwyneth were killed. But the guiding words of the ghostly owners allows all of them to experience redemption as they reexamine their lives and situations. Time repeats itself as the inn is again bombed, the guests hurriedly exiting to safety.

Show Spoilers

Preview Clip

The Halfway House is very similar in tone with another Ealing Studios film released the following year, Dead of Night. That classic horror anthology starred several of the same actors, and Basil Dearden directed the linking narrative and the "Hearse" segment.