Best Picture Winners Part 15 (of 87): Mrs. Miniver


Title: Mrs. Miniver
Year: 1942
Starring: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright
Director: William Wyler
Runtime: 2 hrs 14 mins

Is It Any Good?: It’s pretty mediocre. I suppose had this been 1942 that the blatant propaganda of it all wouldn’t be so intrusive, nor would it present you with a filthy gritty feeling reminiscent of needing a shower. It’s off putting and sullies an incredible performance from Greer Garson, so good in fact she won the Oscar alongside her co-star Teresa Wright (Best Supporting Actress) that year. An interesting note that Garson’s speeach went 5 mins and 30 secs and is the record holder for longest speech. So now we know who to thank for that music that plays during speechs. Garson beat a plethora of heavyweights that year including Bette Davis (Now, Voyager), Katherine Hepburn (Woman of the Year), Rosalind Russell (My Sister Eileen), and even the Supporting Actress winner Teresa Wright (Pride of the Yankees). I really wish this film held up well, as it is it’s a wonderfully acted film that encapsulates its time period. No one though can deny that Garson’s performance was delicate, and yet had that tour de force attitude about that just MADE you pay attention turning Mrs. Miniver into more then just a pretty face.

Memorable Quote: Carol Beldon: I know how comfortable it is to curl up with a nice, fat book full of big words and think you’re going to solve all the problems in the universe. But you’re not, you know. A bit of action is required every now and then.

Competition: Much like the film that one a majority of the films nominated for Best Picture in 1942 were war epics of one kind or another. Propaganda was never more prevalent in the Oscars as it was during this sensitive time in American History. There’s even a War Savings Bonds advert after Mrs. Miniver. Thanks United States Treasury Department. I’m sure it helped after a film that takes place in England! I digress. Among the other films that could definitely be labeled propaganda are: The Invaders, Random Harvest, and Wake Island. With that one could say that the rah-rah patriotic classic of Yankee Doodle Dandy (which garnered James Cagney his only Oscar) is propaganda in a more subtle way. Which is all the subtlety such red, white and blue nationalism present here can ask for. Speaking of patriots nominee King’s Row features the star turn of future President of the United States Ronald Reagan, though the film suffers from a melodramatic, and choppy feel. We also get the overlong but hilarious comedy The Talk of the Town starring Cary Grant. The Pied Piper is an okay film with a classic story to tell. While our last two films though different are classics for two very different reasons. First up we have the Orson Welles masterpiece (yes, again) in The Magnificent Ambersons. And lastly it’s one of my favorite old films The Pride of the Yankees the first truly great sports biopic, and it’s of the man himself Lou Gehrig from his childhood as an immigrant to his battles both in pinstripes, and with an unknown disease Gary Cooper is stellar here and continues to show he’s one of the Golden Era’s golden boys!

Next up is a classic film that’ll have me quoting it furthermore then I already do. Whether you come back (which I know you will) or you don’t just remember we’ll always have Paris ladies and gents! Stay tuned!

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