Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Times columns were short reflections on everyday life, based in part on Struther's own family and experiences. While the columns started out as lighthearted domestic scenes where the outside world barely intruded, the approach of World War II slowly brought darker global concerns into Mrs. Miniver's world. One of the more memorable pieces appears near the middle of the series, where the Minivers get gas masks.
The columns were first published in book form in 1939, shortly after the outbreak of war. Struther stopped the regular newspaper columns that year, but wrote a series of letters from Mrs. Miniver, expanding on the character's wartime experiences. These were published in later editions.
The book became an enormous success, especially in the United States, where Struther went on a lecture tour shortly after the book's release.
Although the US was still neutral, the tribulations of the Miniver family as war with Nazi Germany arrived engaged the sympathy of the American public sufficiently that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt credited it for hastening America's involvement in the war, and Winston Churchill claimed that it had done more for the Allied cause than a flotilla of battleships.
The film adaptation of Mrs. Miniver was produced by MGM in 1942 with Greer Garson in the leading role and William Wyler directing. Under the influence of the American Office of War Information, the film attempted to undermine Hollywood's prewar depiction of England as a glamorous bastion of social privilege, anachronistic habits and snobbery in favour of more democratic, modern images. To this end, the social status enjoyed by the Miniver family in the print version was downgraded and increased attention was given to the erosion of class barriers under the pressures of wartime.
The film exceeded all expectations, grossing $5,358,000 in North America (the highest for any MGM film at the time) and $3,520,000 abroad. In Britain, it was named the top box office attraction of 1942. 555 of the 592 film critics polled by American magazine Film Daily named it the best film of 1942.
Awards and nominations
The film won six Oscars:
- Academy Award for Best Picture - Sidney Franklin , producer
- Academy Award for Best Actress - Greer Garson
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress - Teresa Wright
- Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White - Joseph Ruttenberg
- Academy Award for Directing - William Wyler
- Academy Award for Writing , Screenplay - George Froeschel , James Hilton, Claudine West , Arthur Wimperis
It was nominated for another six Oscars:
- Academy Award for Best Actor - Walter Pidgeon
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor - Henry Travers
- Academy Award for Best Actress - Dame May Whitty
- Best Effects, Special Effects - A. Arnold Gillespie (photographic), Warren Newcombe (photographic), Douglas Shearer (sound)
- Best Film Editing - Harold F. Kress
- Best Sound, Recording - Douglas Shearer
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