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Fictional historical account of what might have happened if Adolf Hitler had won the Second World War. Germany has corralled all European countries into a single state called Germania, and ... See full summary »
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Hans van Tongeren,
It is the Second World War. The Nazis have invaded Britain. There is a split between the resistance and those who prefer to collaborate with the invaders for a quiet life. The protagonist, a nurse, is caught in the middle. Written by
The film was shot in black and white on 16 mm film. Despite its grainy, newsreel feel, no actual stock footage was used. The filming equipment was mostly borrowed. The audio quality and lighting during the opening are poor, making the opening dialog difficult to follow. Stanley Kubrick donated film stock from 'Dr. Strangelove' to help finish this film. Wartime BBC radio announcers Alvar Lidell and John Snagge donated their services to reconstruct voice newsreels and radio broadcasts. Director Tony Richardson co-financed the final production. See more »
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Being a Londoner, and born but a few months after England declared war on
Germany, this film has always held a special significance for me. I originally saw it when it opened in London: a mere twelve years after the worst war in living memory, had ended. I saw it for the second time recently at a friend's house. To me, it is still the best film about the occupation of a country by a foreign army. In his book, "How It Happened Here", co-director, Kevin Brownlow explains how he got the idea to
make this film. He just happened to be walking down a London street, at the
moment when a car screeched to a halt outside a shop. Four or so heavyset
men piled out of the car. They were dressed, recalls Brownlow, in grey
overcoats in a style reminiscent of Russian KGB agents. All were bulky and
acted in a furtive manner. It got Brownlow thinking: "what if....."
On a budget that can only be described as miniscule, it took Brownlow and his co-director, Andrew Mollo, eight years to complete the film. It's shot in a
quasi-documentary style, which makes it even more realistic. Their attention to detail is amazing considering the paucity of funds available - every uniform the actors wore was sewn by Mrs. Mollo. While I can't claim to personally 'remember' those years when London was
bombed constantly, I can recall the sound, or should I say lack of it (we were all inside a bomb shelter), when a German V-2 rocket (nicknamed a doodle-bug),
ran out of fuel and plummeted to the ground. We were lucky: it landed but a few streets away, killing many, many people, breaking windows, shaking chimneys and covering all our possesions in a thick layer of soot!
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