Mrs. MiniverDirector: William Wyler, Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright
As Academy Award-winning films go, Mrs. Miniver has not weathered the years all that well. This prettified, idealized view of the upper-class British home front during World War II sometimes seems over-calculated and contrived when seen today. In particular, Greer Garson's Oscar-winning performance in the title role often comes off as artificial, especially when she nobly tends her rose garden while her stalwart husband (Walter Pidgeon) participates in the evacuation at Dunkirk. However, even if the film has lost a good portion of its ability to move and inspire audiences, it is easy to see why it was so popular in 1942-and why Winston Churchill was moved to comment that its propaganda value was worth a dozen battleships. Everyone in the audience-even English audiences, closer to the events depicted in the film than American filmgoers-liked to believe that he or she was capable of behaving with as much grace under pressure as the Miniver family. The film's setpieces-the Minivers huddling in their bomb shelter during a Luftwaffe attack, Mrs. Miniver confronting a downed Nazi paratrooper in her kitchen, an annual flower show being staged despite the exigencies of bombing raids, cleric Henry Wilcoxon's climactic call to arms from the pulpit of his ruined church-are masterfully staged and acted, allowing one to ever so briefly forget that this is, after all, slick propagandizing. In addition to Best Picture and Best Actress, Mrs. Miniver garnered Oscars for best supporting actress (Teresa Wright), best director (William Wyler), best script (Arthur Wimperis, George Froschel, James Hilton, Claudine West), best cinematography (Joseph Ruttenberg) and best producer (Sidney Franklin). Sidebar: Richard Ney, who plays Greer Garson's son, later married the actress-and still later became a successful Wall Street financier. Mrs. Miniver was followed by a 1951 sequel, The Miniver Story, but without the wartime setting the bloom was off the rose.
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- Warner Home Video
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Cast & Crew
|Cedric Gibbons||Art Director|
|Arnold A. Gillespie||Special Effects|
|Robert Kalloch||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Urie McCleary||Art Director|
|Warren Newcombe||Special Effects|
|Herbert Stothart||Score Composer|
|Edwin B. Willis||Set Decoration/Design|
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'Mrs. Miniver' is one of those non-factual, war time propaganda tear jerkers that has proven itself to be enduring and immensely entertaining. Upon its release, Winston Churchill declared the film more influential in getting America involved in WWII than a fleet of destroyers. The plot concerns Mrs. Miniver (Greer Garson) the atypical English housewife quietly enduring the hardships of war and capturing a downed Nazi pilot in her begonias in the process. It sounds hoaky but actually the story is incredibly stirring. Walter Pigeon, Garson¿s frequent costar, is cast as her tender husband, Clem. Richard Ney plays her slightly opinionated son, Vin who rises to the occasion and becomes a flyer for the RAF. Aside: Ney and Garson were carrying on an affair during the filming that eventually resulted in a disastrous marriage and a quicky divorce. Oh well, at least the relationships in the film are perfect. Of merit is Teresa Wright¿s outstanding performance as Carol, Vin's doomed fiancee. Previously issued versions of this film were near perfect so it's really no surprise to discover that this DVD carries on in the same tradition. Quite simply: the picture is outstanding. Blacks are deep and solid. The gray scale is beautiful and well balanced. There is hardly a scratch or a bit of grit or grain to distract. The soundtrack is equally impressive in MONO but very, very nicely balanced. A bit of a disappointment comes from the fact that no one at Warner Brothers had the foresight to do a ¿making of¿ featurette. All we get is a couple of short subjects and a stills gallery.
Classic film if you're into old movies. They don't make movies like these old ones anymore
I disagree that this film has not weathered well. Certainly it's prettified and idealized England, but that's typical MGM treatment--MGM made big, glossy, sentimental movies with attractive stars behaving nobly. That's why fans of the Golden Era love MGM movies! This is a wonderful, inspiring story with exceptional acting throughout. Propaganda, yes, but not that far from the truth. Read historical accounts of the behavior of the British during the Blitz. Mrs. Miniver portrays their courage splendidly. A great movie. Highly recommended.