SMU Class: Holly Goes to War: Mrs. Miniver

Mrs. Miniver is truly one of the top two WWII era films concerning the war in Europe. Fabulous performances rewarded with Academy awards, and huge box office recipts for the studio. It was a message film to America.

Several of you commented to me afterwards about a few things that you noticed in the film. For example, Clem Miniver’s pipe. I did not catch that. Glad you pointed that out to me. Hope you will post your observations here.

Two little things caught my eye. I thought that it was interesting that they did not make the German pilot that Mrs. Miniver captured a stereotypical blonde. Also, in the excellent bomb shelter scene, I noticed that Napoleon the cat did not react to the sounds of the bombing. Normally, animals react to sound, but Napoleon continued his grooming until things started to fall. Was Napoleon hard of hearing? Probably not. The sounds of war were dubbed in post-production which makes Greer Garson’s Walter Pidgeon’s performances that much more compelling.

What did you notice? Do you think Mrs. Miniver succeeded as a "message film."

Last Scene of Mrs. Miniver
When we watched the movie in class, it struck me that in the final scene with its famous message by the pastor, and the RAF planes flying over in the V (victory) formation, that there were other V symbols as well. After having found these two pictures, I am going to have to go back and view the ending again. Perhaps teaching art history creates an occupational (and personal) hazard of looking for symbols in the visual world but it did seem to me that there were other "V's for victory in the last scene. I'm not a builder, and maybe that's just what the scaffolding would look like, but it seems to be very pronounced.

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