Saturday, July 2, 2016

Mrs. Miniver

Year 8, Day 184 - 7/2/16 - Movie #2,385

BEFORE: I've got about 2 1/2 weeks until Comic-Con, and I can't wait - not just because it means getting out of this hot, smelly city for a week (and traveling to a slightly-less hot, slightly-less smelly one) and having some fun (while working hard) and dining out every night (wait, I do that here, too...) but also because it will mean that my run of classic films from the first half of the last century will be over.  Right now I've still got about 10 days before I hit the 1980's again, and while I appreciate the older films, they do kind of wear on me after a while.  To fully enjoy them, I've got to put myself in the head-space of someone from the 1930's or the 1940's, and honestly I don't truly connect with that era, not like I do with the 1970's or 1980's.  Plus, after a while I come to realize that everyone I'm seeing on the screen is now dead, and that tends to get depressing.  So I'm anxious to get back to some more modern stuff.  

This weekend, I've got to start preparing for my trip, and that means getting my best t-shirts washed, making some lists of stuff I want to buy at the convention, and making sure that TCM doesn't run a bunch of movies I need while I'm away for a week.  Teresa Wright carries over from "The Best Years of Our Lives".

THE PLOT:   A British family struggles to survive the first months of World War II.

AFTER: I've never had the chance to visit the U.K., but I've been a fan of their culture for a long time.  Monty Python, The Beatles, Benny Hill, pub food - I would like to go there someday, maybe when this whole Brexit issue is settled and their economy is in the crapper, it might be the right time to do so.  I don't totally understand this whole European Union secession issue, especially when the country that invaded or colonized nearly every other country in the world at some point takes such a hard stance against immigration.  Go figure.  

But today let's focus on the famous British pluck, the "stiff upper lip" attitude that prevailed during World War II.  Because this attitude is relevant today, what kept Britons going while London was being bombed is a model for how we should all react when our airports or train stations or movie theaters come under attack.  If we stop going out and having fun the way we usually do, then the terrorists, or the Germans, win.  

Trouble is, part of me just isn't buying it.  The fact is, we DO change our habits, the bombings DO bother us, and those of us not directly affected try to think about how we would feel if someone close to us got blown up.  You can't tell me that people didn't think twice about watching the Boston Marathon live one year after the bombing there - sure, a few hardy souls probably got charged up to attend to make a point, but I'll wager that attendance was down overall the following year.  So for the Minivers to act like "You can bomb our town, you can kill members of our family, but we're still going to have our tea time," I'm going to say it's just putting up a brave front.

And to go ahead with the flower show?  The FLOWER SHOW?  I can't think of too many things less important - don't they know there's a war on?  Geez, at least after 9/11 we were concerned with getting back to important things, like baseball games.  And we didn't even have enemy airmen parachuting into our yards.

This is another form of blatant propaganda - just take a look at who doesn't survive the bombings.  Clearly the story was written, and the film went into production before the U.S. entered the war, and they couldn't have made a stronger case to try and secure American involvement.  And even so, we're shown a British family making the ultimate sacrifice, which is trying to make it through the war without their maid and their cook.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention tonight's connection to "It's a Wonderful Life" - it's actor Henry Travers, playing the bell-ringer in the church, but you probably know him better as Clarence, the reluctant angel who helps out George Bailey in that Christmas classic.

Also starring Greer Garson (last seen in "Julius Caesar"), Walter Pidgeon (last seen in "Dream Wife"), Dame May Whitty (last seen in "Gaslight"), Reginald Owen, Henry Travers (last seen in "Dark Victory"), Richard Ney, Henry Wilcoxon, John Abbott, Rhys Williams (also last seen in "Julius Caesar"), Helmut Dantine, with cameos from Billy Bevan, Peter Lawford (last seen in "Oceans 11"), Ian Wolfe. 

RATING: 5 out of 10 choirboys

No comments:

Post a Comment