Tomorrow We Live (1943 film)

Tomorrow We Live (released as At Dawn We Die in the US), is a 1943 British film directed by George King and starring John Clements, Godfrey Tearle, Greta Gynt, Hugh Sinclair and Yvonne Arnaud.

Tomorrow We Live
Original UK poster
Directed byGeorge King
Produced byS.W. Smith
Screenplay byAnatole de Grunwald
Story byDorothy Hope
StarringJohn Clements
Godfrey Tearle
Greta Gynt
Hugh Sinclair
Yvonne Arnaud
Music byNicholas Brodzsky
CinematographyOtto Heller
British Aviation Pictures
Distributed byBritish Lion Film
Release date
  • 5 April 1943 (1943-04-05)
Running time
87 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom

The film was made during the Second World War, and the action is set in a small town in German-occupied France. It portrays the activities of members of the French Resistance and the Germans' tactic of taking and shooting innocent hostages in reprisal for acts of sabotage. The opening credits acknowledge "the official co-operation of General de Gaulle and the French National Committee".

Dorothy Hope is credited with "original story".


A young French idealist (John Clements), who gives his name as Jean Baptiste, arrives in "St Pierre-le-Port", a small town near Saint-Nazaire, a major port and base of operations for the German Navy, particularly their U-boats, on the Atlantic coast. Baptiste tells a member of the French Resistance that "I come from Saint-Nazaire. I've details of the submarine base, the docks and power plant. If I can get them to England..."

The first half of the film often has a lighthearted tone; the Germans are portrayed as bumbling and easily outwitted. The German commandant is overweight and gullible. However, after the Resistance successfully sabotages a German armaments train, the SS take charge of the town, and the occupation takes a brutal turn.

Main cast


Nicholas Brodzsky is credited for the music, while the orchestration is credited to Roy Douglas, an English composer who was much in demand as an arranger, orchestrator, and copyist of the music of others, notably Richard Addinsell, Ralph Vaughan Williams and William Walton. However it is possible that Brodzsky actually contributed very little. In a memoir in the William Walton Archive, Roy Douglas claimed, "Brodsky was a so-called composer: I had actually composed entire film scores for him, which went under his name". In a letter to Roy Douglas dated 23 December 1943, William Walton wrote, "I'm delighted about your picture. I'll have a good deal to tell you about Brodsky when I see you. In my capacity as music adviser to Two Cities [a film company] it is going to be my duty to have to tick him off!"[2]


  1. BBFC: Tomorrow We Live Linked 2015-04-29
  2. The Selected Letters of William Walton, edited by Malcolm Hayes, Faber and Faber, 2002.
  • Aldgate, Anthony and Richards, Jeffrey. Britain Can Take it: British Cinema in the Second World War. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2nd Edition. 1994. ISBN 0-7486-0508-8.
  • Barr, Charles, ed. All Our Yesterdays: 90 Years of British Cinema. London: British Film Institute, 1986. ISBN 0-85170-179-5.
  • Murphy, Robert. British Cinema and the Second World War. London: Continuum, 2000. ISBN 0-8264-5139-X.
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