The Minivers, an English "middle-class" family experience life in the first months of World War II. While dodging bombs, the Minivers' son courts Lady Beldon's granddaughter. A rose is named after Mrs. Miniver and entered in the competition against Lady Beldon's rose.Written by
Michael Rice <TheMikeRic@aol.com>
Greer Garson's Best Actress acceptance speech lasted an incredible 5 1/2 minutes, making it a Hollywood record. Over the years, the length of Garson's oration has been exaggerated to the point where some sources now claim she spoke for 30 minutes or more. See more »
The "double decker" bus seen in the opening sequence is not a British bus at all, nor was it actually a double decked bus. An American bus was used, with a false upper deck grafted on to it. The American-style passenger door can be seen on the right-hand side in the bus's first appearance; a real London Transport bus would have had its door on the left-hand side. See more »
Opening credits prologue: This story of an average English middle-class family begins with the summer of 1939; when the sun shone down on a happy, careless people, who worked and played, reared their children and tended their gardens in that happy, easy-going England that was so soon to be fighting desperately for her way of life and for life itself. See more »
Children of the Heavenly King
[Sung to the tune 'Pleyel's Hymn', which may well have been the most usual tune for this hymn in the United States at that time, but in England it would have been much more usual to sing this hymn to the tune 'Innocents'.] See more »
What a wonderful film Mrs Miniver still is 58 years later. Like Coppola's 'Gardens of Stone', it deals with war by following the lives of those affected by it, and without showing any combat. It's moving, but unlike many other films of the period, totally unsentimental, though has many warm and winning moments (Pidgeon spanking Garson as the maid walks in, following an eventful morning, to say the least!)
Two sequences particularly clicked on this viewing. The first involves the son/pilot who is recalled to service abruptly when his leave has only just begun. He goes upstairs to get his belongings, the mother and fiancée are left in the room, with the backs of their heads to camera - a most unusual shot 'against the rules' of filming. Then you realise the centre of attention is the space left on the stair by the son - they and we are missing him, awaiting his return, but only for a moment as he must leave again. It's as poignant as the doorway framing scenes in 'The Searchers', and rather subtle.
Another scene is the family in the air raid shelter undergoing a bombing attack. The claustrophobia of the situation, and the bravery and dignity of the powerless family caught there, is focused by a single point of view. The unspoken fear is on the face of Garson, vocalised by the kids who finally awake as the bombardment increases. Long, simple takes perfectly capture the intense atmosphere (and exceptional acting.
When I was young I never appreciated this art of 'invisible' film-making, and just why such directors as William Wyler or Preston Sturges or Billy Wilder do such a good job without you even noticing. The fact their films stand the test of time so well is testament to their wonderful abilities as film-makers.
83 of 89 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this