Leaving Lily (1976)

UK, 1976
34m, 1824 feet
16mm film, colour
mono, English

A British short horror film directed by Graham Baker.

Plot Summary

As Tom spends his last few hours of village life in Norfolk with his girlfriend before going off to fight in World War I, a mysterious, khaki-clad figure approaches across the fens.


Directed by: Graham Baker
Graham Baker Productions
Producers: Graham Baker, Lewis More O’Ferrall
Written by: Graham Baker
Photography: Frank Gell
Editor: Edward Roberts
Music: Howard Blake
Sound Recording: Mike Billing
Costumes: Michael Baldwin
Make-up: Vicky Morgan
Production Designer: Bruce Vincent

Nick Willatt (Tom)
Diane Fletcher (Lily)
David Oldfield (Harold)
Linda Palmer (Rosie)
Norman Abbott (Mr Webb)
Stuart Nichol (squire)
Val Woodrow (maid)
Roy Chance (Bernie)


Monthly Film Bulletin vol.44 no.527 (December 1977) p.269
A period piece, aimed at an oblique evocation of the horror of the First War, Leaving Lily begins with modest success: a series of close-ups of hands, uniforms, brass buttons and cap-badges, empty beer bottles and bandaged limbs aptly conveys both the fatigued resignation of a group of soldiers thrown together in a train compartment and a vivid sense of what they have recently suffered. When one of them disembarks, however, and sets off across the Norfolk countryside – stopping to throw away his kit bag and to pause in silent contemplation of a gravestone – and when, later, it seems that this ghostly figure is the wounded Tom, the conceit overtaxes the slender, impressionistic fabric of the film, its careful settings and rather precious encounters between Tom, his former schoolmaster and the caricatured squire. Graham Baker’s evocation of Norfolk is just a shade too idyllic, the war seems just a shade too remote, for his script’s familiar moral to have any bite. The film has been made, however, with commendable care and a sharp eye for authentic period detail. – from a review by John Pym



  • British National Film Catalogue vol.16 (1978)
  • Broadcast no.892 (13 December 1976) pp.8, 22 – article (The medium)
  • Broadcast 8 February 1985 p.26 – article (Moving Picture Company: Facilities go commercial)
  • Broadcast no.960 (1 May 1978) p.24 – illustrated article (Commercials: Madison Avenue comes to Soho)
  • The Listener vol.97 no.2490 (6 January 1977) p.25
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.44 no.527 (December 1977) p.269 – credits, review (by John Pym)
  • Screen International no.66 (11 December 1976) pp.9, 19 – illustrated article (Shorts talent recognised but unrewarded by Sue Summers)
  • Screen International no.232 (15 March 1980) p.13 – illustrated article (Shock, horror! A good omen by Colin Vaines)
  • Screen International no.241 (17 May 1980) p.15 – note (Production UK: First chance on ‘Final Conflict’ by Adrian Hodges)
  • The Stage and Television Today no.5029 (1 September 1977) p.16 – illustrated article (Television today: Getting their first chance to direct film drama)