Sunday, September 25, 2011

Greer Garson & Walter Pidgeon in The Miniver Story (1950)

The rousing success of the wartime melodrama Mrs. Miniver (1942) led MGM to reprise the franchise with this story of how the family adjusts to post war life. We pick up the threads of their lives on VE Day as Clem (Pidgeon) and Judy (Cathy O'Donnell) return home from their duties overseas. As they settle into old routines we begin to suspect something is amiss with Kay (Garson). It turns out that she hasn't long to live, but she's decided to keep that a secret until the time is right. She goes about making the time right by helping the family find their happiness.
This drama is super soapy and not as rousing as its predecesor but it does have some very satisfying moments in it. If you know the original you may wonder what became of the Miniver's oldest son Vin. Well, the actor who played him (Richard Ney) married Greer Garson shortly after the film was completed, and by the time this film came out they had called it quits. So it seems the studio decided not to remind the movie going public of the affair and cut the character from the film. Look for a young James Fox in his first role playing Toby, the Miniver's youngest son, just back from America. You'll enjoy him later as Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
This film is not yet available on DVD, though it's occasionally aired on TCM. Above is the trailer from the TCM website.

Obscurity factor: 6 (dimly remembered, not on DVD, scenes available on YouTube and TCM website)

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