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An American newspaperman and his wife, caught in the London blitz, lose their unborn child in an air raid. Outraged, they visit a shelter for homeless children where they fall in love with orphans Margaret and her brother Peter. They eventaully adopt the children and bring them to America. Written by
Herman Seifer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[John Davis is trying to get other airplane passengers to leave behind their luggage so he can take one of the children on the flight]
Oh, so sorry - but that would mean leaving my confidential files. Also, I must be back in Tokyo by early December
[the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941]
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"I'd like to get my hands on that dirty Nazi swine".
These words were spoken by a bystander in the film who sees the after effects of a German bomb raid on London on the injured victims, including children. That was the sentiment of many Americans during WWII as well.
This film was meant to tug at the heart strings and build ongoing support for the war effort. It's hard to imagine Hollywood actually being supportive of military endeavors, given the current climate today.
There is one very touching scene, right after Nora (Laraine Day) loses her baby. She tells her husband (Robert Young) "They've killed our baby...all our babies, tomorrow's babies, the day after tomorrow's, all our babies, forever dead..." It really is a heart-wrenching scene. Another heartbreaking scene is when little Margaret is allowed to cry freely for the first time (without being punished by her mean ex-foster mom). The Orphange director wipes her own tears and says "Surely little children who have to change worlds must be allowed to cry for all the things they've lost".
I found this to be an interesting war era film with good performances by the actors. I was especially impressed with little Margaret O'Brien's performance, given this was her screen debut at only 5 years old. This film so impacted her, that she actually changed her name to the character's (she was born Angela O'Brien). It's a shame she never successfully made the transition to adult roles. I also thought the little boy Peter, played by William "Billy" Severn, was too adorable for words. He only has a few films to his credit and went on to travel the world as an evangelist for TBN. Unfortunately, he died of a massive heart attack at only 45 years old.
I also had a little history lesson as a result of the film. The film closes with the scene of the New York City skyline darkening due to a blackout. I thought that was some type of projection - that perhaps if the US wasn't diligent, that we too could experience the bombings that Britian and other countries had. But I did some research and was surprised to learn that East coast cities of the US actually DID have blackouts due to German U-boats lurking off the coast that were sinking merchant ships ( referred to as the "Second Happy Time"). I always appreciate when a movie helps me learn some US History in the process!
Some will find this film a little manipulative in trying to gain the viewer's sympathies. But I found it a good reminder of who the littlest victims of war were - the children.
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