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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>
With her peaceful English life suddenly thrown into turmoil by the Second World War, MRS. MINIVER continues to provide a solid rock of security for her family.
Released seven months after America's entry into the War, this film did a great deal to inform the American people about Britain's defiance against Nazi Germany and the steadfast resolution of the British people in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. Coming at a time of heightened emotions - as well as being expertly produced and extremely well acted - it is easy to see why the film earned 6 Oscars, including Best Picture & Best Director.
Greer Garson is completely marvelous in the title role, (for which she won the Best Actress Oscar), presenting a portrait of grace & courage under fire which transcends mere acting. She is representing an entire island full of women who grew the crops & ran the factories and kept the nation operating while the men went to battle. Through her wonderful performance, Garson shows how those she symbolized more than did their part in the fight against the Axis.
Two other ladies give outstanding performances in the film. As the local aristocrat, Dame May Whitty is properly imperious & proud, yet the viewer sees her character unbend over the course of the film to become much more vulnerable. Winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, lovely Teresa Wright is luminous as Dame May's granddaughter. Sweetly sensible, elegantly at ease, joyous during hardships, Miss Wright gives a performance not easy to forget.
In solid, understated roles, both Walter Pidgeon as Mr. Miniver & Richard Ney as his elder son, supply good support to the ladies in the cast. Pidgeon gets to pilot one of the Little Boats to Dunkirk and Ney becomes a flyer with the RAF, but both are performed in an almost subdued manner, leaving the heroics to the women.
A quintet of fine actors add small, deft brushstrokes to the movie's canvas: cherubic Henry Travers as the station-master who delights in the gentle art of breeding roses; blustery Reginald Owen as the local storekeeper who eagerly takes over as air raid warden; kindly Henry Wilcoxon as the village vicar; blunt Rhys Williams as the boyfriend of the Miniver's maid (comically played by Brenda Forbes); and Helmut Dantine as the pitiless German pilot who briefly invades the Miniver household.
Six-year-old Christopher Severn will either delight or annoy as the Miniver's talkative infant son. Clare Sandars, as his slightly older sister, is left something of a cipher by the script.
Movie mavens should recognize Ian Wolfe, uncredited as a boatman helping with the Dunkirk rescue.
The scenes involving the brutal aerial bombardment are still vividly suspenseful, focusing primarily on the faces of the actors involved.
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