Forties Movies


While I have been patiently sewing my mockup together by hand I’ve been watching some movies from and about the forties. I have a couple of favourites I’d like to talk about. I generally don’t write reviews about things so I hope you’ll be able to bear my unpracticed prose!

The first is The Way to the Stars(1945). This film is about an English airfield (and the local bar/hotel) during 1942. The film examines the relationships among the pilots and between the pilots and the local population at the hotel. The airfield is eventually handed over to American pilots complete with the predictable cultural differences which remain nevertheless amusing (flight gear in the mess hall? Positively Shocking!). I enjoyed this movie because of its focus on daily life on the ground. Despite being a war movie there are no battles and only one explosion. But there are still air raids and poignant moments brought on by the stresses of wartime. The movie stars John Mills and Rosamund Johns who both do excellent acting jobs.

The second that I quite enjoyed was Millions Like Us(1943). Again this movie focuses on life on the ground, a subject that particularly appeals to me and that I find quite relatable. It follows the story of an ordinary working class girl who gets conscripted to work in a factory. What struck me most about this film was how it portrayed the (limited) choices available to a young woman during this period. It was interesting to follow the main character and see how she deals with the choices that she makes. Again, this film includes many scenes that express the stresses of wartime life for ordinary folk. In particular a scene during an air raid while the main characters are working in the factory was particularly moving to me.

My personal experience of the recent past is essentially nil. I lived in a place that was miles away from the battlefields and I know very little about close relative’s personal experiences. I am, of course, far to young to have any direct experiences so there is quite a generational gap. Nevertheless both of these movies showed me how wartime affected ordinary people and brought home the many forms that sacrifice can take. I highly recommend both of these movies.


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