Last night I added Johnny Frenchman to my list of favourites. It is Ealing and it is a Michael Balcon production so it comes with a good pedigree AND it is a Brit Movie. Yet, it is not one of the titles that is flagged up as a must have and one wonders why?

It is well made, normally at home, I fidget and concentration fades in and out yet the 100 minutes of this film held my attention completely. I struggle to tell you why, although WW2 based there are a few minutes of uniform, no kicking in doors, no firearm is discharged at all. There are many threads which drive the production on. There is the backdrop of a Cornish fishing village, it's life and well drawn characters and a telling of how they conducted their industry which I found fascinating. The photography again was perfect and showed the village and it's environment warts and all. Concurrent with that is the base story of a similar Breton village across the channel and the rivalry and competition for fishing grounds pre the Common Market. Matching characters with a love hate relationship for each other. Scenes in the film set before the war demonstrate this and the fact when the chips are down they are primarily fishermen and men of the sea.

This base plot moves along as France is occupied and the main characters of the Breton village seek shelter with their Cornish contemporaries. Rivalries intensify if anything.

Then there is a second theme. The crusty harbour master and his distrust of anything froggie yet he is an honourable man, his bete noir is the fiesty Breton matron who owns a cafe-bar and a boat who pushes the tolerance of the Cornish fishermen to the limit by fishing on their patch but always has an answer. The two lead a duel of dialogue through the film. Now the love interest. Said crusy Harbour Master has daughter, and said Breton matron has a son and you have guessed it they have love at first sight complicated by being a froggy and local Cornish lad also thinks he is in with a chance.

How the threads draw together buy the DVD I am pleased I did.