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The flaw in Mrs. Miniver


slaytonf
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No, it's not the plot device setting us up to expect Vin's death and then offing Carol.  Discreditable though it may be, it's still fairplay.  What I'm talking about is far more dastardly than that.  And what really makes it hurt is that it's in a movie directed by this country's best director, William Wyler, one of his best.  It's got everything you look for in a Wyler picture, the composition, the details and refinements that are hallmarks of his work.  It's entertaining to keep track of how he weaves together all the threads, themic, and visual.  The cast is wonderful to watch, too.  Greer Garson refined, elegant, a real lady.  Teresa Wright, like fine porcelain.  Even Walter Pigeon is less stodgy than usual.  There's also a solid list of supporting actors that need no mentioning, so I won't.  All this is what makes it the more infuriating.  It's wrenching for me to watch this movie, because I admire it so much, but it has this glaring. . . . I mean it is such an outrage--it upsets me just to think of it.  Oh, ah, the flaw?  Well. . . 

 

Do you know the Miniver's have a daughter?  Yeees, they do.  But you'd hardly notice it from watching the movie.  In all the movies I've seen, there has never been a character treated as shabby as she is. Her treatment is both shameful and shameless.  All the other members of the Miniver family, their servant, too, gets fair treatment and characterization.  But she is left off the the side, pale and flat.  Even the cat gets more exciting business, for God's sake.  One wonders why anyone bothered to introduce her at all.  Perhaps they thought another female was necessary, for balance.  Or maybe she did originally have a bigger role, but it was consumed by the young son (I cannot bring myself to name him), that impish grommet mugging and mawking for for the camera.  His antics are only that much less provoking than the insults paid to her.  Fortunately, Wyler is competent enough to keep him from marring the picture.  This reprehensible campaign extends to such base levels as to exclude her from group portrayals of the Minivers.  Here's a still from the end of the movie, where is she?:

 

254yn2d.png

 

Oh, you say, you're being unfair.  You picked one out just to prove your point.  She must be in other shots.  Well, yes, you're right, she is.  And here it is, just moments later in the movie:

 

 

2lup6xl.png

 

That's her arm there, in the lower right of the frame.

 

Mrs. Miniver (1942), on late tonite, or early tomorrow, depending.  But if you're here on this site reading this, you've probably already seen it.

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HEY now, slayton!

 

Wyler DID give the little rugrat a scene playing The Wedding March on the piano, how didn't HE?!

 

(...what...you moonlighting with your local child protection agency or somethin' lately, dude?!!!)

 

;)

 

LOL

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Ironically, that little girl ran off with the guy who played the son of Fredric March and Myrna Loy in The Best Years of Our Lives.

 

Aah yes. The dreaded Chuck Cunningham Syndrome rears its ugly head again.

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HEY now, slayton!

 

Wyler DID give the little rugrat a scene playing The Wedding March on the piano, how didn't HE?!

 

(...what...you moonlighting with your local child protection agency or somethin' lately, dude?!!!)

 

;)

 

LOL

 

 

Yes, but you will notice how she is dissed at the end of that scene.  The antagonism toward this unfortunate child is unrelenting.  And it's the local chapter of Fairplay For All.

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Yes, but you will notice how she is dissed at the end of that scene.  The antagonism toward this unfortunate child is unrelenting.  And it's the local chapter of Fairplay For All.

 

Yeah, actually I do have to admit the little girl is given short shrift in this film.

 

(...I dunno...maybe Wyler thought focusing more on those adult superfluous-u users over there instead of the little rugrat superfluous-u users might rally the Yankee audiences of the time over to their cause more effectively?) ;)

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Ironically, that little girl ran off with the guy who played the son of Fredric March and Myrna Loy in The Best Years of Our Lives.

 

When I read "In all the movies I've seen, there has never been a character treated as shabby as she is" the first thing that came to mind was the son in BYOOL.   

 

As is often the case the simple reason is the answer;   kids being kids, both of them lost their union card. 

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The son in Best Years of Our Lives was simply put to the side.  The unfortunate daughter in Mrs. Miniver has a continuing presence in the movie, yet is continually marginalized by the writing and visually.

 

I see your point.   Those making the film should have had the couple having only 2 children.    Having too many side-plots typically makes for a less interesting film.

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Do you know the Miniver's have a daughter?  Yeees, they do.  But you'd hardly notice it from watching the movie.  In all the movies I've seen, there has never been a character treated as shabby as she is. Her treatment is both shameful and shameless.  All the other members of the Miniver family, their servant, too, gets fair treatment and characterization.  But she is left off the the side, pale and flat.  

 

 

 

 

2lup6xl.png

 

That's her arm there, in the lower right of the frame.

 

 

It's possible she did have more of a role, and maybe they either saw her acting as unnatural or they had to cut film footage and they saw her scenes as unnecessary. It could be all the fault of the editing team (although, one would expect the director to view the final offering.)

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Ironically, that little girl ran off with the guy who played the son of Fredric March and Myrna Loy in The Best Years of Our Lives.

I think Fredric March and Myrna Loy locked him in a closet after they discovered his budding political views and that's why we never saw him again.

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