Released today in 1942, and the winner of six Oscars in 1943 , Mrs Miniver is the tale of an English family living near London in the early part of the Second World War.
It tells the story of a middle class family and follows the lives, challenges and bereavements felt by the civilian population.
Screened exactly 2 years to the day after the last evacuees were collected from the beaches of Dunkirk, the film captured perfectly the civilian wartime sentiment on both sides of the Atlantic. Ironically, it was also released exactly 2 years before the first boats again landed in France, this time at the start of the D-Day landings.
It was the runaway winner at the 1943 Oscars, winning six categories, and nominated in six more. To this day, only two films have received nominations in all four acting categories, Mrs Miniver in 1943, and From Here to Eternity in 1954.
Greer Garson won the Best Actress Oscar for playing the role of a wife and mother, a role she wasn't keen on playing. She was however, contractually obliged to play the role after the studio's first choice (Norma Shearer) had refused the part, not wanting to play a mother on screen. It worked out pretty well for Greer though, as, while she was Oscar nominated seven times, including five in a row for Best Actress between 1941 1945, this was the only one she took home.
As well as being recognised by The Academy in a year when YankeeDoodleDandy, Holiday Inn and Bambi were also released, Mrs Miniver struck a cord with the wartime leaders across the world.
Winston Churchill was quoted as saying that the film did more for the war effort than a flotilla of destroyers.
Franklin D.Roosavelt ordered the impassioned speech that the film ends on to be broadcast on the radio across America, and leaflets with the speech were dropped across Europe as propaganda.
Possibly most surprising though in his praise was Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister in charge of propaganda. He said: "Its refined propagandistic tendency has up to now only been dreamed of. There is not a single angry word said against Germany; nevertheless, the anti-German tendency is perfectly accomplished."
So a classic MGM film. A killer cast at the top of their game capturing the mood of the moment. A few twists in the tale along the way and a perfectly pitched tub-thumping rallying speech to end on. You can imagine the crowds leaving the cinema ready to face the war effort on the home front feeling six inches taller.
I hope I've tickled your fancy for this one as it really is a good watch. You can rent or buy from Amazon by clicking here.
Thanks for reading. If you liked this article then please share, and if you want a daily 5 minute interesting read to pop into your inbox, sign up for here for regular updates on the website.
See you at the movies!