In 1940, the Nazis invade Britain and transform it into a fascist state where some Britons collaborate and others resist. In 1944, an apolitical Irish nurse becomes a reluctant player in the fight between the two sides.
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
All British release versions prior to 1993 ran 93 minutes, due to the deletion by the distributors of a scene showing real neo-Nazis expounding their ideology. This was restored for the 1993 Connoisseur Video release. See more »
Someone decides to make their own feature film ? Don't tell me , I know what's coming next - a zombie apocalypse filmed on someones mobile phone ? Well that's what happens in the 21st Century but away back in the mid 1950s two ambitious amateur film makers Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo pulled out all the stops to make an alternative neo-realist film featuring a scenario where Operation Sealion was a success and Britain is under the fascist jackboot and these two idealists managed to pull out all the stops . All I really know about the behind the scenes story is that it took them eight years and seven thousand pounds sterling of their own finance to produce it
From a technical point of view IT HAPPENED HERE is somewhat crude . Filmed in black and white it resists the temptation to intercut real life footage of the second world war and instead everything on screen is pre-filmed for the camera . I'd be very interested in hearing amusing anecdotes about the production . Did the makers get strange reactions by asking where they could get some Waffen SS uniforms for example ? It is amazing that the production team gained access to so much military hardware and equipment . If there's a downside it's that the directors can't help showing off Nazi marching bands walking along the streets of London . Another negative is that the sound-mix is very poor
It's the screenplay that makes up for any limitations in the mis-en-scene . One annoyance is that "England" is constantly mentioned throughout . I take it the Nazis stopped at the borders of Wales and Scotland or more likely the writers have euphemistically used the term England when they mean Britain/UK . As a Celt this upset me slightly then I quickly forgave them because the story quickly nails human nature under occupation . There's not really a central plot but this doesn't matter in the slightest because human nature is put under the spotlight and without pluralist democracy human nature knows no bounds when it comes to inhumanity
By this I mean very few people would set you on fire , but by the same yardstick very few people would lift a finger to help you if you were on fire . Truth be told few people would p*ss on you if you were on fire . You ever worked for a corporate company ? I have worked for several and universally they operate in the same way a one party state does . Most people are indifferent to the company , they see it as a means to an end as in getting paid to feed their families and never lose their decency as humans or as colleagues . This isn't enough for some people . They are in a minority but give such people an inch of power and they shall take light years . Be thankful that democracy doesn't allow such people to rise to the top .
If there's one problem with the film's politics it's equating the resistance not being all that different from the methods employed by the fascists and the film is book ended in that both sides have the justification of "If you're not for us you're against us". I can understand what the makers are trying to do but is it actually true that "The appalling thing about fascism is that you've got to use fascist methods to get rid of it." Presently in Syria the Kurdish YPG and their Arab comrades in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are engaged in a war against Daesh and the fascist Assad government who are backed by proxies from Russia , Iran and Turkey and yet never stoop to the methods of the regime they are fighting . That said in my own experience of politics there's a noticeable similarity between the far left and far right in that the world is constantly manipulated by a race of outsiders . Fascists use the word "Jewry" while leftists use the word "Zionists" and only the phraseology is different
If nothing else IT HAPPENED HERE gives an interesting window on the world of what things would be like if the Nazis had won the Battle Of Britain . Perhaps the most scary thing is that it's a world not a million miles removed from our own corporate Western world where "We don't accept your decisions. You accept ours." . Don't be glad you live in a democracy . Be sad it's never going to be democratic enough
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