Tonight We Raid Calais (1943)

70 mins | Drama | 30 April 1943

Director:

John Brahm

Writer:

Waldo Salt

Producer:

André Daven

Cinematographer:

Lucien Ballard

Editor:

Allen McNeil

Production Designers:

Richard Day, J. Russell Spencer

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Project 47 , Project No. 47 and Secret Mission . The MPH review commented about the final title: "Why the film carries its current title is a mystery, however. There is no bombing of Calais." According to HR news items, former Twentieth Century-Fox secretary Rohama Lee, who is credited onscreen with original story, was to collaborate on the screenplay with Arthur Caesar, but the extent of Caesar's contribution to the completed film has not been determined. Lee received her first onscreen credit for this film. Bryan Foy was originally set as the producer of the picture, which, according to a May 1942 HR news item, was to be directed by Louis King. In Sep 1942, HR stated that Edward Ludwig would direct the picture, and that as a result of being assigned other duties by the studio, Foy would be replaced by Andre Daven as the film's producer. Kenneth Gamet was then assigned to work on the screenplay, but the extent of his contribution to the finished film has not been determined.
       According to a 2 Oct 1942 HR news item, Henry Rowland was being considered for a leading role. Cast and crew information for the 1943 Twentieth Century-Fox picture Chetniks! is listed by mistake in the 9 Oct 1942 HR production chart. Tonight We Raid Calais marked the screen debut of Group Theatre actor and director Robert Lewis, who also served as the picture's dialogue director. The film was the first American production worked on by Daven, ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Project 47 , Project No. 47 and Secret Mission . The MPH review commented about the final title: "Why the film carries its current title is a mystery, however. There is no bombing of Calais." According to HR news items, former Twentieth Century-Fox secretary Rohama Lee, who is credited onscreen with original story, was to collaborate on the screenplay with Arthur Caesar, but the extent of Caesar's contribution to the completed film has not been determined. Lee received her first onscreen credit for this film. Bryan Foy was originally set as the producer of the picture, which, according to a May 1942 HR news item, was to be directed by Louis King. In Sep 1942, HR stated that Edward Ludwig would direct the picture, and that as a result of being assigned other duties by the studio, Foy would be replaced by Andre Daven as the film's producer. Kenneth Gamet was then assigned to work on the screenplay, but the extent of his contribution to the finished film has not been determined.
       According to a 2 Oct 1942 HR news item, Henry Rowland was being considered for a leading role. Cast and crew information for the 1943 Twentieth Century-Fox picture Chetniks! is listed by mistake in the 9 Oct 1942 HR production chart. Tonight We Raid Calais marked the screen debut of Group Theatre actor and director Robert Lewis, who also served as the picture's dialogue director. The film was the first American production worked on by Daven, and marked the return to the screen of Annabella, who had not made a picture since the 1939 M-G-M film Bridal Suite . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
May 43
p. 175.
Box Office
3 Apr 1943.
---
Daily Variety
24 Mar 43
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 Mar 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Apr 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Sep 42
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 42
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 42
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 42
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 42
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Mar 43
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
24 Mar 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald
27 Mar 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Mar 43
p. 1192.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Apr 43
p. 1239.
New York Times
15 Apr 43
p. 20.
Variety
31 Mar 43
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Grip
Dir of pub
STAND INS
Stand-in for John Sutton
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Secret Mission
Project 47
Release Date:
30 April 1943
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 25 March 1943
Production Date:
7 October--mid November 1942
retakes 13 December--14 December 1942
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
30 April 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12195
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70
Length(in feet):
6,313
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8901
SYNOPSIS

English commando Geoffrey Carter is chosen to undertake a dangerous mission to a small town near Calais, where the Germans have an important munitions factory. Carter kills two German sentries during the trip, after which he hides at the farm of Monsieur and Madame Bonnard. There Carter overhears German sergeant Conrad Block pressuring the Bonnards' pretty daughter Odette to become his "housekeeper." Odette spurns his advances, but cannot afford to be unkind to him, for he knows that she illegally keeps a goat to provide milk for her orphaned nephew. The next morning, Bonnard and Odette find Carter in the barn, but because he hides near the goat, keep his presence a secret when a German patrol searches for him. Once aware that Carter is an English commando, Odette, bitter because her brother Pierre was killed in the British attack at Oran, wishes to turn him in. Bonnard insists that they help him, however, and tells him that he can impersonate Pierre, who is known to be dead by the townspeople but not by the Germans. After being instructed in Pierre's habits, Carter goes to town, where he meets with Pierre's best friend, Jacques Grandet. Jacques works in the munitions factory and tells Carter how to distinguish it from the four phony buildings erected by the Germans to fool RAF bombers. The factory is surrounded by fields owned by Bonnard, his miserly brother Maurice, the Widow Grelieu and her three daughters, and Monsieur Danton. Carter persuades the land owners to create a fire break so that he can set a fire around the factory that night, thereby creating a target ... +


English commando Geoffrey Carter is chosen to undertake a dangerous mission to a small town near Calais, where the Germans have an important munitions factory. Carter kills two German sentries during the trip, after which he hides at the farm of Monsieur and Madame Bonnard. There Carter overhears German sergeant Conrad Block pressuring the Bonnards' pretty daughter Odette to become his "housekeeper." Odette spurns his advances, but cannot afford to be unkind to him, for he knows that she illegally keeps a goat to provide milk for her orphaned nephew. The next morning, Bonnard and Odette find Carter in the barn, but because he hides near the goat, keep his presence a secret when a German patrol searches for him. Once aware that Carter is an English commando, Odette, bitter because her brother Pierre was killed in the British attack at Oran, wishes to turn him in. Bonnard insists that they help him, however, and tells him that he can impersonate Pierre, who is known to be dead by the townspeople but not by the Germans. After being instructed in Pierre's habits, Carter goes to town, where he meets with Pierre's best friend, Jacques Grandet. Jacques works in the munitions factory and tells Carter how to distinguish it from the four phony buildings erected by the Germans to fool RAF bombers. The factory is surrounded by fields owned by Bonnard, his miserly brother Maurice, the Widow Grelieu and her three daughters, and Monsieur Danton. Carter persuades the land owners to create a fire break so that he can set a fire around the factory that night, thereby creating a target for the RAF's attack. Carter is confronted by Block, but uses Block's fraternization with Odette to get him in trouble with Commandant Hauptmann. The commandant orders Block to prove his charge that Carter is the commando, which Block does by gently persuading Madame Bonnard to show him photographs of the real Pierre. The Bonnards are arrested, and despite Odette's pleas, Bonnard remains determined to make any sacrifice necessary to defeat the Nazis. Hauptmann tells Odette that he will be lenient if she locates Carter, but after she helps to have Carter, Danton and the Grelieu women arrested, he orders that her parents be executed by a firing squad. Overwhelmed by remorse, Odette questions Maurice about Carter's plans and learns about the impending raid. Meanwhile, Carter is interrogated by Hauptmann and tells him that he planted a bomb in the factory, which causes Hauptmann to send in German soldiers to investigate and evacuate the building. Soon after, Odette arrives at the jail where Carter and the others are being held and frees them after killing Block. The conspirators then race to the fields, which they burn just in time to alert the RAF. The bombing mission is successful, especially as the factory is full of German soldiers rather than French workers. Odette rushes home to her nephew and asks Carter to take him to England. Carter, who must first rendezvous with English troops in Calais, offers to take Odette also, but she insists that she must stay and fight for her country. Carter assures her that soon he and many others like him will return, and Odette replies that many more like her will be waiting. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.