“I can think of a hundred ways already in which the war has “brought us to our senses.” But it oughtn’t to need a war to make a nation paint its kerbstones white, carry rear-lamps on its bicycles, and give all its slum children a holiday in the country.” That’s just one sample of Mrs. Miniver’s homespun philosophy. Meet Mrs. Miniver. She is the universal, heart-warming symbol of the endurable and pleasant sides of existence. Against the shadow of the present she holds up to view the everyday domesticities, the comings and goings of family life, and finds them good. Mrs. Miniver at tea, Mrs. Miniver trying to discover what the windshield wiper is really saying, Mrs. Miniver and her three unpredictable children and her altogether too-predictable husband, Mrs. Miniver and the woman who said she could only accept the Really Nice Children as évacués—the writing and characters in these thumbnail sketches are disarmingly simple and recognizable, and yet, by the author’s gift of intense observation, the ordinary becomes extraordinary and important.
" In this first-ever biography of Greer Garson, Michael Troyan sweeps away the many myths that even today veil her life. The true origins of her birth, her fairy-tale discovery in Hollywood, and her career struggles at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are revealed for the first time. Garson combined an everywoman quality with grace, charm, and refinement. She won the Academy Award in 1941 for her role in Mrs. Miniver , and for the next decade she reigned as the queen of MGM. Co-star Christopher Plummer remembered, ""Here was a siren who had depth, strength, dignity, and humor who could inspire great trust, suggest deep intellect and whose misty languorous eyes melted your heart away!"" Garson earned a total of seven Academy Award nominations for Best Actress, and fourteen of her films premiered at Radio City Music Hall, playing for a total of eighty-four weeks--a record never equaled by any other actress. She was a central figure in the golden age of the studios, working with legendary performers Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Errol Flynn, Joan Crawford, Robert Mitchum, Debbie Reynolds, and Walter Pidgeon. Garson's experiences offer a fascinating glimpse at the studio system in the years when stars were closely linked to a particular studio and moguls such as L.B. Mayer broke or made careers. With the benefit of exclusive access to studio production files, personal letters and diaries, and the cooperation of her family, Troyan explores the triumphs and tragedies of her personal life, a story more colorful than any role she played on screen.
In 1937 the Court Page of the London Times began publishing a series of articles featuring a charming, upper-middle class English housewife named Mrs Miniver. The articles depicted an idyllically happy family with three children, a house in London, and a country cottage called Starlings. Two years later, Mrs Miniver was published in book form. While some critics derided the book as sentimental, many readers embraced it as a symbol of an increasingly endangered English way of life, and it went on to become the #1 bestseller in America. The Hollywood film, released in 1942 with Greer Garson in the title role, won five Oscars, including Best Picture, and did so much to promote the American war effort in Europe that even Josef Goebbels recognized it as an exemplary piece of propaganda. But who was the real Mrs Miniver? The articles were produced by Joyce Maxtone Graham, who wrote under the name Jan Struther and seemed to resemble her heroine: She was upper-middle class, and lived in a gracious, comfortable home with her husband and three children. After the war broke out, she served as an unofficial ambassador from Great Britain to the U.S. In truth, however, Jan Struther was not at all like the conventional Mrs Miniver. It wasn't merely that she didn't like tea--to the amazement of everyone in America--but her real life was neither simple nor saintly. Her marriage was ending, and she was secretly in love with a Jewish refugee from Nazi Austria. Written by Jan Struther's granddaughter Ysenda Maxtone Graham, The Real Mrs Miniver is a complex and fascinating biography. While the Hollywood version remains a powerful and inspirational movie, this book offers brilliant insights into the true impact of war upon real people's lives.
The film "Mrs Miniver" was a wartime classic. It took America by storm and won five Oscars. The book that inspired the film had likewise been a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic and its author, Jan Struther, found it hard to persuade people that she herself was not its heroine. This book is the biography of the Jan Struther.
A picture of Mrs. Miniver in many moods shown thru a succession of episodes such as the return to London after the holidays, the new car, Christmas, the countryside, Scotland, gas masks, a trip to the dentist, and a journey abroad.
Patriotism, Movies and the Second World War from Ninotchka to Mrs Miniver
Author: Clayton R. Koppes,Gregory D. Black
Publisher: Tauris Parke Paperbacks
Category: Performing Arts
The drama, imagery and fantasy of 1940s films was enlisted to inspire the US war effort during World War II. This book looks at the propaganda, politics and persuasion that conspired to produce memorable movies such as Casablanca, and the thankfully forgotten Hillbilly Blitzkreig.
The Life and Films of Hollywood's Most Celebrated Director
Author: Gabriel Miller
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Category: Performing Arts
During his forty-five-year career, William Wyler (1902--1981) pushed the boundaries of filmmaking with his gripping storylines and innovative depth-of-field cinematography. With a body of work that includes such memorable classics as Jezebel (1938), Mrs. Miniver (1942), Ben-Hur (1959), and Funny Girl (1968), Wyler is the most nominated director in the history of the Academy Awards and bears the distinction of having won an Oscar for Best Director on three occasions. Both Bette Davis and Lillian Hellman considered him America's finest director, and Sir Laurence Olivier said he learned more about film acting from Wyler than from anyone else. In William Wyler, Gabriel Miller explores the career of one of Hollywood's most unique and influential directors, examining the evolution of his cinematic style. Wyler's films feature nuanced shots and multifaceted narratives that reflect his preoccupation with realism and story construction. The director's later works were deeply influenced by his time in the army air force during World War II, and the disconnect between the idealized version of the postwar experience and reality became a central theme of Wyler's masterpiece, The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). None of Wyler's contemporaries approached his scope: he made successful and seminal films in practically every genre, including social drama, melodrama, and comedy. Yet, despite overwhelming critical acclaim and popularity, Wyler's work has never been extensively studied. This long-overdue book offers a comprehensive assessment of the director, his work, and his films' influence.
The actress Teresa Wright (1918–2005) lived a rich, complex, magnificent life against the backdrop of golden age Hollywood, Broadway and television. There was no indication, from her astonishingly difficult—indeed, horrifying—childhood, of the success that would follow, nor of the universal acclaim and admiration that accompanied her everywhere. Her two marriages—to the writers Niven Busch (The Postman Always Rings Twice; Duel in the Sun) and Robert Anderson (Tea and Sympathy; I Never Sang for My Father)—provide a good deal of the drama, warmth, poignancy and heartbreak of her life story. “I never wanted to be a star,” she told the noted biographer Donald Spoto at dinner in 1978. “I wanted only to be an actress.” She began acting on the stage in summer stock and repertory at the age of eighteen. When Thornton Wilder and Jed Harris saw her in an ingénue role, she was chosen to understudy the part of Emily in the original production of Our Town (1938), which she then played in touring productions. Samuel Goldwyn saw her first starring role on Broadway—in the historic production of Life with Father—and at once he offered her a long contract. She was the only actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for her first three pictures (The Little Foxes; The Pride of the Yankees; and Mrs. Miniver), and she won for the third film. Movie fans and scholars to this day admire her performance in the classics Shadow of a Doubt and The Best Years of Our Lives. The circumstances of her tenure at Goldwyn, and the drama of her breaking that contract, forever changed the treatment of stars. Wright’s family and heirs appointed Spoto as her authorized biographer and offered him exclusive access to her letters and papers. Major supporting players in this story include Robert Anderson, Alfred Hitchcock, William Wyler, Karl Malden, Elia Kazan, Jean Simmons, Dorothy McGuire, Bette Davis, George Cukor, Marlon Brando, George C. Scott, the artist Al Hirschfeld, Stella Adler, and more.
Evan S. Connell's Mrs Bridge is an extraordinary tragicomic portrayal of suburban life and one of the classic American novels of the twentieth century. Mrs Bridge, an unremarkable and conservative housewife in Kansas City, has three children and a kindly lawyer husband. She spends her time shopping, going to bridge parties and bringing up her children to be pleasant, clean and have nice manners. And yet she finds modern life increasingly baffling, her children aren't growing up into the people she expected, and sometimes she has the vague disquieting sensation that all is not well in her life. In a series of comic, telling vignettes, Evan S. Connell illuminates the narrow morality, confusion, futility and even terror at the heart of a life of plenty. The companion novel Mr Bridge, telling the story from the other side of the marriage, is also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A perfect novel ... Its tone - knowing, droll, plaintive, shuttling rapidly between pain and hilarity - elevates it to its own kind of specialness ... One of those books that can suffuse a room with happiness when someone brings it up' Meg Wulitzer, The New York Times 'Intimate ... affecting ... a very funny book' Joshua Ferris
The Role of Writers in British Propaganda in the United States, 1939-1945
Author: Robert L. Calder
Publisher: McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP
Using newly uncovered archival material, Calder offers provocative new insights into the war work of more than forty prominent British authors, focusing particularly on Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, H.G. Wells, Vera Brittain, and J.B. Priestley. He provides a comprehensive analysis of the suspicions beneath the wartime Anglo-American alliance and describes the tensions that arose between the British Ministry of Information and the Foreign Office over the nature and direction of the propaganda campaign in the United States.Calder demonstrates that Britain's well-organized propaganda campaign in the United States to persuade it to enter World War I had left isolationist and Anglophobic Americans highly suspicious of anything that hinted of propaganda. Any effort to influence public opinion had therefore to be carefully and subtly undertaken, and the British Government soon realised that well-known authors - employed officially or semi-officially - were ideal for the task. Respected for their pens, they were especially suited to reminding Americans of their strongest links with Britain - a common language and a shared cultural heritage of Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Hardy, Thackeray, and others. As well, their profession had often led them to tour, speak, write, and live in America, and, because they could live on their royalties and speaking fees, they were not on the payroll of the British government and thus could not be identified as paid foreign agents.
Eleanor of Acquitaine has been waiting in Heaven for a long time to be reunited with her second husband, Henry II of England. Finally, the day has come when Henry will be judged for admission--and while Eleanor waits, three people close to her during various times of her life join her, helping to distract her and providing a rich portrait of a remarkable woman in history.
Why did Leonardo da Vinci lavish three years on painting the second wife of an unimportant merchant when all the nobles of Europe were begging for a portrait by his hand? In E. L. Konigsburg's intriguing novel, the answer lies with the complex relationship between the genius, his morally questionable young apprentice, and a young duchess whose plain features belie the sensitivity of her soul.
World War II coincided with cinema's golden age. Movies now considered classics were created at a time when all sides in the war were coming to realize the great power of popular films to motivate the masses. Through multinational research, One World, Big Screen reveals how the Grand Alliance--Britain, China, the Soviet Union, and the United States--tapped Hollywood's impressive power to shrink the distance and bridge the differences that separated them. The Allies, M. Todd Bennett shows, strategically manipulated cinema in an effort to promote the idea that the United Nations was a family of nations joined by blood and affection. Bennett revisits Casablanca, Mrs. Miniver, Flying Tigers, and other familiar movies that, he argues, helped win the war and the peace by improving Allied solidarity and transforming the American worldview. Closely analyzing film, diplomatic correspondence, propagandists' logs, and movie studio records found in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the former Soviet Union, Bennett rethinks traditional scholarship on World War II diplomacy by examining the ways that Hollywood and the Allies worked together to prepare for and enact the war effort.
When Hollywood Loved Britain examines the Hollywood "British" film--American feature films that were set in Britain, based on British history or literature and included the work of British producers, directors, writers and actors. "British" films include many of the most popular and memorable films of the 1930s and 1940s, yet they have received little individual attention from film historians and even less attention as a body of films. While the book is centered on wartime "British" films, it also investigates wider issues: the influence of censorship and propaganda agencies during Hollywood’s studio era, studio finances, the isolationist campaign in the United States between 1939 and 1941, and American perceptions of Britain at war.