"This is the People's War. It is our war. We are the fighters. Fight it then. Fight it with all that is in us and may God defend the Right." -- The Vicar (Mrs. Miniver, 1942)I'm back! I know I've been gone a long time, and I apologize. It's been a wild whirlwind couple of months. Since I last wrote, I now have a new job, a new apartment, and a new lease on life! Obviously I won't make my goal of being through all my movies by March, but I don't mind so much. This project has always been just for myself, and if I have made an impact on others, I count that as more of a bonus than anything else. Not that I don't appreciate my readers, in fact having my friends support me on this project has been one of the best things about it. But the best part about writing for yourself is that you never have to feel the guilt or stress of missing a deadline. And I knew when I watched it that this movie didn't deserve a hurried, stressed entry. This movie was one of my favorites, and an absolute must-see by anyone who happens to have an interest in film or history. It is emotionally stirring, entertaining, and historically fascinating. Enjoy.
|Teresa Wright and Greer Garson in Mrs. Miniver|
Mrs. Kay Miniver, played by Greer Garson, is the happy British housewife of an architect in an upper-middle class family. The film opens as she returns home on the train, feeling guilty because she spent a little too much on a hat. She greets Mr. Ballard, the station master, played by Henry Travers, on her way home, and discovers he has named his newly grown batch of roses after her, as she is the nicest woman in town. Her husband Clem, played by Walter Pigeon, feels similarly guilty about the car he has bought, and when they finally both confess, they could be a normal sitcom couple along the lines of I Love Lucy or Leave it to Beaver. Except they're British, and it's 1939, right as World War II is beginning to take effect.
|The Minivers greet Vin at the station|
|Ballard shows his "Mrs. Miniver" rose to its namesake|
|The Minivers congratulate Carol.|
|Mrs. Miniver and the German soldier|
While they are gone, the rest of the Minivers hide in their bomb shelter as the battle continues in the air. While before they had managed to pass uneventful nights in their shelter reading and knitting, this time the bombing is so intense that the children wake crying and the entire family must huddle together fearfully. When Carol and Vin return, they are shocked by the near complete destruction of their home, but Kay and Clem shrug off the rubble and talk of the upcoming flower show.
|The Minivers see the wreckage of the house.|
At the show, Lady Beldon is informed secretly that she has won the competition yet again, but realizes (with Kay's help) that the lowly Ballard really deserves it and announces instead that he has won the prize. While everyone cheers at this heartwarming scene, the air raid sirens suddenly go off and everyone must scatter for home. As Kay and Carol drive home they attempt to dodge the destruction around them, but Carol is suddenly hit by a stray bullet. Though Kay is able to get her home, Carol dies before a doctor can arrive. When Vin arrives home and discovers her dead, he finally loses his youthful optimism and innocence.
|Lady Beldon at the flower show.|
They all attend church on Sunday, though the church has been badly bombed. The vicar announces those who have died, including a young choir boy, Carol, and Ballard. He delivers a stirring speech, and as he reads from the Ninety-First Psalm, Vin moves to Lady Beldon's pew to comfort her. As everyone leaves, singing hymns, more planes take to the air.
|The family together at church.|
William Wyler created this film for propaganda reasons. Wyler choose a series of popular essays written by Jan Struther in 1939 and gave them a story line that he stretched into 1942. He felt that America had too long followed a policy of isolationism, and desirous of influencing Americans against the Nazis, showed how middle class Brits were faring overseas. Wyler himself had been born in Germany, and he took the German threat very seriously. He wrote and re-wrote the vicar's speech at the end of the film, insisting on a perfect ending. Although he later believed he was not harsh enough in his depiction of war, Mrs. Miniver would become a major factor in influencing American opinions.
|Teresa Wright and Greer Garson on set.|
|The Wilcoxon Speech|
|Four Oscar-winning actors on Awards night.|
|Long-winded Oscar winner Greer Garson|
|Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon in Mrs. Miniver|
This movie is incredible for so many reasons. And it’s not because it is a cinematic masterpiece. If this movie was made either 10 years earlier or later it would not have made such an impact on me. It is such an important movie because it is not a war movie; it is a movie about living during a war.
|Mr. and Mrs. Miniver in the bomb shelter.|
|The Minivers must tell Vin his wife has died.|
|The Minivers in the bomb shelter.|
|The family looks at their ruined home.|