Mrs. Miniver?

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Foxer55, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. Foxer55

    Foxer55 A-List Customer

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    Mrs. Miniver is on TCM tonight at 10:00 PM. Ever since seeing the film the first time I have been fascinated by it as I believe it represents something of what British home and hearth were like prior to WWII. I worked with a couple of Brits in California some years ago and they trashed the film as nothing but contrived rot, etc., etc. And these were older guys who had lived through the London bombings.

    I'd like to ask our British FL members what their take on the film is? Do you think its a classic or is it just phony propaganda? Is it representative of life in Britain during that period or not?

    Annex - Wilcoxon, Henry (Mrs. Miniver)_01.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  2. dhermann1

    dhermann1 I'll Lock Up

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    Well, it's really both. It's a classic and it's propaganda. Wouldn't call it "phoney" propaganda. The people who made it were very sincere about what the thought they were fighting for. There are a lot of Brits today who are VERY cynical about everything British, both the good and the bad.
    Mrs. Miniver is a super idealized version of the story, but not untruthful.
     
  3. Dragon Soldier

    Dragon Soldier One of the Regulars

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    Mr. Dhermann has it pretty much correct.

    It is an idealised (sorry, UK English spelling) of the time. There were less laudable things happening too, probably in at least equal measure.

    It doesn't lie, it just doesn't show the whole truth.

    Wonderful film!
     
  4. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I've never actually seen it. I do recall, however, that Greer Garson, who won the best actress Oscar for her performance in the film, still holds the record for longest Oscar acceptance speech, clocking in at five and a half minutes. It's a record unlikely to be broken, as after that the Academy imposed a time limit (last seen, to my knowledge, being enforced over Michael Moore a few years ago - once he'd reached the limit, the orchestra were simply instructed to strike up and drown him out. No idea how often it's been enforced other than that).
     
  5. Foxer55

    Foxer55 A-List Customer

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    Dragon Soldier,

    Idealization would be my thoughts which is not so bad. Most movies of this sort are purposefully idealized expressions of life. I think it is a wonderful movie.
     
  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Propaganda is a tough word today as it has come to have a negative connotation, but there was a time when that wasn't so. This film is an example of good propaganda: as said above, it represented an idealized version of the British Public facing a brutal war brought right into their homes. If it encouraged, emboldened and lifted the moral of the British Public, then it did its job admirably.

    I personally always feel a swell of pride (and did as a kid in America in the 1970s when I first saw it) when all those civilian ships go over to help evacuate the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk. It made me want to be a better person; one who would behave with honor and sacrifice when called for. To me, propaganda is at its best if - watching an old movie about the "average" British family facing the challenges of WWII - can get a silly young boy in America in the 1970s to think about his value system and wanting to be a better person.
     
  7. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

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    Regardless of its accuracy in portraying a British family of that day, I love the movie.
     
  8. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    Isn't it interesting how many Americans LOVE that movie? I know I do. I watched it the other night as well. So many great scenes... the Flower Show, the closing sermon. Gotta give it to MGM they knew how to make great films back then. Having not lived through it in Britain it's easy for us to idealize the British of that time. Watching "The World at War" you realize just how divided the Brits were. So much so that Hitler's body wasn't even cold before the booted Churchill out. Still I love the film.

    Worf
     
  9. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

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    Very well said, Worf. I just finished watching it. Wow, again.
     
  10. Smithy

    Smithy I'll Lock Up

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    Definitely an idealised view, but this kind of thing was very common at the time in Britain, very much in the same vein as the "Your Britain: Fight for it Now" series of posters which appealed to an idyllic idea of Britain which was worth fighting for:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. esteban68

    esteban68 Call Me a Cab

    It's not a bad film in fact it's quite good in places, some of the accents and sets are obviously not 'English' and yes it's definitely a propaganda piece aimed at fostering 'hands across the sea' and also no doubt at getting the USA into the war if needed.
    Far better films IMHO are 'Millions like us' & the excellent David Lean's 'This Happy Breed' these though propaganda films at heart portray the reality for many 'British ' citizens of the time as many upper class and upper middle class families 'did a runner abroad' as my Grandfather used to say or got themselves or their sons exempt from service and rationing.
     
  12. Dated Guy

    Dated Guy Familiar Face

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    Although Greer Garson was good in the film, as were all the cast, it was simply a filmic take on the stout yeomanry of Britain. It has fear, pathos, excitement etc etc, all the hallmarks of a decent 'war' film. The same could be said of 'Went The Day Well' and others of the ilk. It certainly isn't a 100% correct interpretation of events, more a confection to delight paying audiences and hopefully bolster support for the war effort. The ongoing link between Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon was a perfect box office draw and the film makers knew that.....
     
  13. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I saw "Went the Day Well" for the first time last year - very impressive, great concept, well executed and the black and white was so crisp it was like high-def B&W. Many British films from the 40s and 50s seemed to been have shot in super duper B&W - so much clearer and crisper than many American B&Ws from the same time period.

    Another impressive little British gem of a WWII movie (albeit made in 1955) is "The Dam Busters," which tells the story of how the British used some pretty cool new technology, applied physics and an insane amount of trial and error (driven by an incredible scientist) to bomb several dams in Germany during WWII.
     

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