Best Picture: Mrs. Miniver

Mrs_Miniver_posterCarol Beldon: I know how comfortable it is to curl up with a nice, fat book full of big words and think you’re going to solve all the problems in the universe. But you’re not, you know.  A bit of action is required every now and then.

The 1942 Best Picture winner is another one of those movies I’m glad  I got to watch.  Base on a newspaper column regarding everyday life that tracks the beginning of World War 2, the movie was an effort by the makers to promote a pro-Allied stance in an American that was still neutral.  It was so successful in this matter that both Churchill and Goebbels were quoted on its impact, and Roosevelt ordered a speech from the movie to be broadcast over the radio.

The movie is a Home Front movie, describing the changes that a family goes through when their country goes to war.  The Miniver family lives a comfortable life outside London, with friendly servants, enough money that they only pretend to worry about spending it, and a son in college who thinks he knows everything.  The war begins and their lives begin to change.  Their servants leave for service, and soon their son joins the RAF.  They live in a bomb shelter, watching the Blitz and mourning the damage of their house.  The local old blood aristocrat becomes friend, then family.  There is loss and suffering, but underneath it all is a resolute determination in the face of the German bombing.

There were a number of things about this move that I enjoyed.

The attitude of the family, for one.  They have a very optimistic outlook that they never lose.

As a historian, I enjoyed the examples portrayed of how close the Home Front of Britain was to the war.  It can easy to forget that the Home Front of England was next to the War front (and during the Blitz, was the War Front).  From the locals searching for a downed German pilot to the privately owned boats leaving for Dunkirk, the bomb shelters, the loss of so many friends and family to wartime positions and to war.

And finally, the old aristocrat, who started as an annoying character and grew to be my favorite one by the end of the movie.

This one is definitely a keeper.

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