Mrs Miniver: The Film That Goebbels Feared

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“We will come. We will bomb your cities.” So bristles a character in the film Mrs Miniver. A German pilot who had been shot down in the chocolate box English village of Belham, he momentarily brings the horrors of World War II to what is largely a domestic drama.

The movie – released in June 1942, going on to win the best picture Oscar the following year – is credited with consolidating American support for the Allies, at a time when the public backed isolationism. A new programmeexplores the moment Hollywood finally took a stance against the Nazis, after years of underplaying opposition to the regime.

“The Hollywood business behaved shabbily and in a cowardly way,” film critic David Thomson tells presenter Paul Gambaccini. “Hollywood was caught in a very nasty situation – it did not want war for the simple reason that war would interfere with its European sales. And they played a very two-faced game, until it was clear that war was inevitable.”

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