The constraints imposed by World War II seemed to give new energy to the British film industry. After a faltering start, British films began to make increasing use of documentary techniques and former documentary film-makers to make more realistic films, many of which helped to shape the popular image of the nation at war. Among the best known of these films are In Which We Serve (1942), Went the Day Well? (1942), We Dive at Dawn (1943), Millions Like Us (1943) and The Way Ahead (1944). In the later war years Gainsborough Studios produced a series of critically derided but immensely popular period melodramas including The Man in Grey (1943) and The Wicked Lady (1945). These helped to create a new generation of British stars, such as Stewart Granger, Margaret Lockwood and James Mason.
Two Cities Films, an independent production company also made some important films including This Happy Breed (1944), Blithe Spirit (1945) and Sir Laurence Olivier's Henry V (1944) and Hamlet (1948).