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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>
William Wyler openly admitted that he made the film for propaganda reasons. Wyler - who was born in Germany - strongly believed that the US should join the war against Nazism, and was concerned that America's policy of isolationism would prove damaging, so he made a film that showed ordinary Americans what their British equivalents were undergoing at the time. The film's subsequent success had a profound effect on American sympathy towards the plight of the British. 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 »
Greer Garson gives a wonderful performance as Kay Miniver, a middle-aged English wife and mother whose kindness, intelligence, and positive spirit speak well of women all across England, during the difficult days of WWII. And that's what this movie is really about: the love and devotion of ordinary people during wartime.
Technically, this is a fine film. The script is well written and the plot is easy to follow. Most of the characters are sympathetic, and all of them have convincing arcs through the story. I did not care for the very Victorian Lady Beldon, but Dame May Witty gives a nice performance in that role. The film's plot has an interesting twist toward the end that coincides with the randomness of the effects of war. The story's tone does drip with a bit of sentimentality. But given the fact that the movie itself was made during the war it portrays, I think some sentimentality is entirely appropriate.
The film's B&W cinematography is conventional but competent. Production design and costumes are credible. And the special effects are surprisingly good for the early 1940s.
I will say that the film seems very dated. Customs and manners have changed so much in the last 65 years; the behavior of characters in this film is so proper and formal. That's not a criticism, just an observation.
The 1930s and 40s must have been a truly awful time for peace loving people. It's good, therefore, that we have high-quality films like Mrs. Miniver as a reminder of what life was like for ordinary people, to give us some historical perspective from which to view our own times. Of the many WWII films that I have seen, "Mrs. Miniver" is one of the best.
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