The film was released in the USA in 1951 in a severely cut-down version under the title of House of 1,000 Women. Per the British Film Institute database, this is the second in an "unofficial trilogy" by Launder and Gilliat, along with Millions Like Us (1943) and Waterloo Road (1945).
Rosemary Brown (Patricia Roc), an English novice nun, is mistakenly apprehended by French soldiers as a fifth columnist during the 1940 Battle of France. She is sentenced to face a firing squad, but the Germans arrive and she is sent (without her habit, which is being cleaned) to an internment camp in a grand hotel at the spa town of Marneville. She journeys there with Freda (a journalist played by Phyllis Calvert), Bridie (a stripper played by Jean Kent), Muriel (Flora Robson) and her companion Miss Meredith (Muriel Aked). At the camp, they meet Maud (Renee Houston) Mrs Burtshaw (Thora Hird) and Teresa King. While two women are assigned to each room, Bridie uses her charms to obtain one to herself.
They receive a radio from an unknown source, but it is swiftly confiscated by the Germans. The women conclude that they have a stool pigeon, nicknamed "Poison Ivy", amongst the dozen who knew about the radio. Nellie reports that she saw the German file on Rosemary; the charge of being a fifth columnist causes suspicion to fall on her. However, Freda and Maud do not believe it. They warn Rosemary, who reveals she is a nun.
An RAF bomber is hit during a nighttime air raid. Manningford deliberately violates the blackout in order to help it crash land. Pilot Officer Jimmy Moore (James McKechnie), Sergeant Alec Harvey (Reginald Purdell) and Dave Kennedy (Robert Arden) seek refuge in the hotel. The women hide them, but have to conceal the fact from Teresa King, who is revealed to be a Nazi spy. Later, Alec recognises Rosemary as Mary Maugham, a singer whose boyfriend murdered his wife; she became a nun as a result. However, they start falling for each other, as do Dave and Bridie. When Sergeant Hentzner spots Dave, Dave manages to strangle him quietly, and his body is hidden.
The women devise a plan to enable the men to escape during a concert they will put on. To ensure the Germans stay until the end, Freda persuades Bridie to perform her act last. However, when Birdie overhears what Dave thinks of her (due to her fraternisation with the Germans), she slips Teresa a note betraying all. Freda makes Dave write an apology professing his love, which she delivers to Birdie. Birdie then goes to Teresa's room and sees that she has already read the note. The two women fight. Teresa wins and alerts Frau Holweg, but one of the women knocks Holweg out. By the time she comes to and warns the commandant, it is too late. The trio escape, with the aid of Monsieur Boper, the hotel proprietor, who turns out not to be a collaborator after all. The women defiantly sing "There'll Always Be an England".Phyllis Calvert as Freda Thompson
Flora Robson as Miss [Muriel] Manningford
Patricia Roc as Rosemary Brown
Renée Houston as Maud Wright
Reginald Purdell as Alec Harvey
Anne Crawford as Margaret Long
Jean Kent as Bridie Johnson
James McKechnie as Jimmy Moore
Robert Arden as Dave Kennedy (as Rob Arden)
Carl Jaffe as Sergt. Hentzner
Muriel Aked as Miss [Clairen] Meredith
Kathleen Boutall as Mrs. Hadfield
Hilda Campbell-Russell as Mrs. [Cornelia] Hope Latimer
Christiana Forbes as Frau Holweg
Thora Hird as Mrs. Burtshaw
Dulcie Gray as Nellie Skinner
Joan Ingram as Mrs. Tatmarsh
Betty Jardine as Teresa King
Christiane De Maurin as Annette
Guy Le Feuvre as Monsieur Boper (as Guy Lefeuvre)
Paul Sheridan as French Officer
Frank Launder stated later that he "should have treated the subject more seriously...that it would have been a bigger film if I concentrated less on the comedy and more on the drama".
Phyllis Calvert says she was offered the part of the nun who falls in love with a pilot, but turned it down and Pat Roc played it instead. Calvert played Freda Thompson, even though she felt Launder and Gilliat "didn't like me turning down a part they had written for me, which I can understand."
According to Calvert, Renee Houston and Flora Robson "didn't get on at all" during the film.
According to trade papers, the film was a success at the British box office in 1944.
Perhaps due to the success of Three Came Home, the film was released in the USA in 1951 in a severely cut-down version under the title of House of 1,000 Women. The American version of the film available on DVD ignores Patricia Roc's adventures as well as several subplots and starts the film with the transport to the internment hotel.