LOVE ACTUALLY: A Century Of British Romance

~1950~A Town Like Alice

Fitfully striking and dramatic.
The New York Times


Jack Lee


  • Virginia McKenna
  • Peter Finch
  • Kenji Takaki
  • Tran Van Khe
  • Jean Anderson
  • Marie Lohr
  • Maureen Swanson
  • Renee Houston
1956, 117 mins, UK
War | Drama

This World War II tale is a long gestating romance that is contrasted by its tumultuous time.

Jean (Virginia McKenna) is a British office worker that recalls three years of her life during war-time. In 1942 she is captured in Malaysia and imprisoned by the Japanese invading forces. Harangued by and marched around villages to perform physical labour with other female prisoners, Jean eventually meets an Australian soldier Joe Harman (Peter Finch). Realising the desperate plight the women are in, Joe selflessly aids them by stealing food and medicine and in doing so strikes up a special relationship with Jean. When his actions are discovered, he is thought to be mortally wounded, and Jean assumes him dead.

Flash-forward to post-WWII in early 1950s London and Jean, who survived the war, plans to use some inheritance to build a well in one of the small villages in Malaysia where she resided. It is there, years later, where she learns the true fate of Joe, changing her life forever.