Cat no. 1268

Leaving Lily

Running time~32:13 1975 Norfolk, Norfolk

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As Tom spends the day with his lover and is about to enlist to join the First World War, Tom has strange visions about the future that make him question his decision.



Drama telling the story of two lovers, Tom and Lilly and of the last day they spend together before Tom goes to fight in World War I. The scenes of their day are interspersed with scenes of a wounded soldier returning. This soldier proves to be Tom and these scenes are haunting Lilly. The film conveys the impression that, although wounded, Tom is the only village boy to return from France.

The film begins with a steam train speeding through the countryside. On board are wounded soldiers of the Norfolk Regiment who are returning home. One of them is Tom, the central character of the film. There are shots of a large Hall and a young woman makes her way in the early morning light to a tumble down cottage for an early morning assignation with her lover. There are exterior and interior shots of this cottage. The scene cuts to a station where a single soldier alights from the train. The film cuts back to Tom and Lilly and the conversation makes the viewer aware that Tom is signing up long with several village boys. Lilly's vision shows a soldier walking through a graveyard. One of the headstones is shaped as an iron cross. The soldier finds the going hard and discards his pack to continue his journey on foot. This is found by two schoolboys.Tom goes into the village where the schoolmaster comes out to wish him luck. An older man, he speaks in terms of A good turnout for the village, I feel really proud of you, If I was a younger man, and France is a really beautiful country. Also from this conversation we learn that Tom's father has died. Tom continues to meet his friend Harold, a baker who is seen at work turning out loaves. They discuss their afternoon out.

In the next sequence, Tom calls at the Hall for an interview with the Squire. There are interior views of the hall as Tom sits and waits to be called. He teases the maid. Tom has an interview with the Squire. On his way out he visits another farm worker in the stables and the two of them look at the new car that the Squire has just purchased.Tom meets Lilly. The two of them catch the village boys 'scrumping.' Tom drives them off and they drop the helmet picked up from th pack of the lone soldier. Tom puts it on, but Lilly is upset by this. The two of them continue their day out, meeting up with Harold and Rosie. The friends cycle along country lanes and across the marshes of North Norfolk. As they do so, there are very good general Norfolk scenes.The film cuts to shots of the returning soldier making his way across the marshes, discarding clothing as he goes, before plunging into the sea. Shots of him wading through the creek evoke comparisons with the mud of the trenches.The friends continue cycling across the marshes until they reach a public house. Lilly and Rosie sit outside, whilst Tom and Harold go inside for a drink. Interior scenes show games of shove ha'penny and a man plays the accordion. Lilly goes to fetch them out but is again affected by her vision. The men return, announcing the Harold has decided to join up. Tom and Lilly continue to the marshes. The film shows good marsh scenes. Lilly's vision returns and they turn for home. At home, frustrated by her moods, Tom storms out. He returns and this time he shares the vision. He sees himself returned, broken and with his face battered. Lilly is on her knees and crying. He decides not to enlist. He rushes into the village to tell his friends, but they are all drunk and pull him up onto the cart. He leaves with them. These final scenes are shot in the village centre at Castle Acre, in front of the Ostrich Public House.

Featured Organisations:

The Norfolk Regiment

Featured Events:

World War I

Featured Buildings:

The Ostrich public house, Castle Acre

Graham Baker Productions

Graham Baker

Lewis More O'Ferrall (associate producer); Graham Baker

Frank Gell; Jeremy Saddler (camera assistant)

Edward Roberts; Karen McConnell (assistant editor)

Howard Blake (additional music and conductor)

John Lundsten

Mike Belling (dubbing mixer)


Diane Fletcher Lily
Nick Willet Tom
Lynda Palmer Rosie
Davild Oldfield Harold
Roy Chance Ernie
Norman Abbott Mr Webb
Stuart Nichol Squire
Val Woodrow Maid
Malcolm HUbbard Village Boy
Gavin Potter Village Boy

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