"Mrs. Miniver," Hollywood's homage to the Allied War effort, swept the 1942 Academy Awards, winning a total of 6 Oscars, including Best Picture. The story of an indomitable, British family ravaged by WWII became an instant sentimental favorite. The film benefits from William Wyler's elegant, seamless direction. And there is some top-notch acting, particularly that of Theresa Wright, and Greer Garson in the title role. Who can resist Dame Mae Whitty who plays a haughty but loveable English noblewoman? However the deliberately paced exposition, designed to engender audience sympathy for the courageous Minivers, is prolix and maudlin. When the Blitz commences, so does the action, and the film gathers true momentum. Although much of it appears dated, "Mrs. Miniver" can certainly be appreciated as a glossy but potent vehicle of Anti-German propaganda.
Collectors of WWII films and Best Picture Oscar winners will be ecstatic over Warner Home Video's new blu-ray edition of "Mrs. Miniver." The high-definition print quality is sensational: radiant, razor-sharp, and rich in black-and-white contrast. As the film is well over two hours in length, the superb picture quality is a decided plus.
Of greater historical and sociological interest are the two Anti-Nazi and Japanese film shorts included as extras. "Mr. Blabbermouth" attempts to set straight the record for any American who believed our military was outclassed by that of the enemy. Be sure not to miss the satirically amusing cartoon "Blitz Wolf," in which Hitler and his army are portrayed as bungling forest creatures.
Though encumbered by typical, Hollywood sentimentality, "Mrs. Miniver does manage to be quite moving at times, and is certainly a most committed effort. Whether or not this sort of wartime saga is to your liking, the new blu-ray edition boasts one of the most beautiful black-and-white prints yet released on the medium.