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No Room at the Inn

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Title: No Room at the Inn  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: James Hayter (actor), Hermione Baddeley, Marie Ault, Harry Locke, Niall MacGinnis, Harcourt Williams, Wylie Watson, Joy Shelton, Ann Stephens, Joan Dowling
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

No Room at the Inn

No Room at the Inn
Directed by Daniel Birt
Produced by Ivan Foxwell
Written by Ivan Foxwell
Dylan Thomas
Starring Freda Jackson
Ann Stephens
Joan Dowling
Music by Hans May
Cinematography James Wilson
Editing by Charles Hasse
Studio ABPC
Distributed by Associated British-Pathé
Release date(s) 25 October 1948
Running time 82 minutes
Country  United Kingdom
Language English
Box office £193,557 (UK)[1]

No Room at the Inn is a 1948 British melodrama, directed by Daniel Birt and starring Freda Jackson and Ann Stephens. The screenplay was adapted by Dylan Thomas and Ivor Foxwell from the play by Joan Temple. The film's subject matter, presented in flashback mode by one of the victims, is cruelty, neglect and mental and physical abuse meted out to evacuee children during World War II. For its time it was unusually graphic, unsparing and relentlessly downbeat in tone, leading one reviewer to describe it as "a completely sordid canvas...a work of cruelty which has no parallel on British screens".[2] The film's implicit attack on both those in a position of authority and private individuals who are fully aware that child abuse is happening under their noses, but choose to turn a blind eye to the obvious by finding excuses not to get involved or rock the boat, was considered very frank and uncompromising for its time.


With the mass evacuation of children from British cities in the early months of World War II, the teenage Mary O'Rane (Ann Stephens) is sent from her home to live in a small town in an unthreatened area. She is billeted at the home of Mrs. Voray (Freda Jackson), a widow who has already taken in several other evacuee children. Mary soon discovers that behind Mrs. Vosey's outwardly respectable, pious and charitable front lies a vicious, sadistic woman with a fondness for alcohol who behind closed doors treats her charges with undisguised cruelty, forcing them to live in conditions of squalor and semi-starvation while pocketing the money intended for their upkeep to spend on drink and personal fripperies.

The obvious unhappiness and shabby appearance of Mary and her fellows alarms Mary's young schoolteacher Judith Drave (Joy Shelton), who takes her concerns about the children's welfare both to local councillors and the church but finds her worries largely disregarded and her pleas for intervention ignored. In desperation Judith appeals to the charity of neighbours to take the children in themselves. Despite having expressed privately amongst themselves their disapproval of what appears to be going on in the Vosey household however, all come up with excuses as to why they are unable to help.

When Mary's father (Niall MacGinnis) arrives to visit her, she tries to communicate to him what is going on. Mrs. Vosey however, forewarned of his arrival, has managed to hide any incriminating evidence and when he confronts her about Mary's allegations, she easily convinces him that they stem from a teenage girl's typical lively imagination and sense of drama. To Mary's horror, far from rescuing her from her situation, her father ends his visit by accompanying Mrs. Vosey for a night on the town. Eventually Mary is drawn into the shady world of petty thievery by her fellow evacuee Norma (Joan Dowling).

Matters come to a head when Mrs. Vosey goes out for the evening and returns to find that one of her young charges has damaged a new hat she has recently bought. In an alcohol-fuelled fury, she drags him to the coal cellar and locks him in for the night as punishment. In the small hours, Mary and Norma sneak out of bed to release him. Mrs. Vosey is awakened by the noise and goes down to confront them. Things take an unexpected turn, and Mrs. Vosey is accidentally killed.



External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • AllRovi
  • at BritMovie
  • at BFI Film & TV Database
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