Winston Churchill famously said the movie did more for the Second World War effort than a flotilla of destroyers. That the movie was a big box office success was a bonus.
No question that Mrs. Miniver is a movie that is not easily overlooked. A banner MGM production with two sterling leads — Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon — and directed by one of classic Hollywood’s most exacting and irreplaceable talents, William Wyler.
The story of an upper-middle class English family’s ordeal during the London blitz and the ravages of early World War II, the movie gives voice to the now quaint notion of decent citizens putting aside their private intentions for the good of family and country. Yes, there’s some preachiness to all this but it is minimal (mostly a stirring final speech delivered by Henry Wilcoxon as the Vicar) — and effective.
Ok, let’s see how much you know about Mrs. Miniver. Try our Quiz. As usual, questions today with the answers following tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Rather than avoid designation, director Wyler expressly intended all along to make Mrs. Miniver as a propaganda movie. a) True; or b) False.
2) Question: Walter Pidgeon initially resisted for taking the role of ‘Mr. Clem Miniver’ because: a) He nurtured a longstanding dislike of Greer Garson; b) He disliked the full- throated patriotism of the movie; c) He feared working with a demanding director; or d) The money wasn’t good enough.
3) Question: Greer Garson was NOT the studio’s first choice for the title role. Who was? a) Joan Crawford; b) Norma Shearer; c) Mae West or d) Katherine Hepburn.
4) Question: Although Mrs. Miniver was a commercial hit, it was largely overlooked by the Academy Awards. a) True; or b) False?
5) Question: There is a personal back story concerning Garson and a Mrs. Miniver cast member. What is it? a) She and costar Pidgeon began a long and passionate affair during the filming; b) Garson and actress Teresa Wright fought constantly; c) After the movie was made, Garson married actor Richard Ney, who plays her son, Vin Miniver; or d) None of the above.