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Question about MRS. MINIVER


HoldenIsHere
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I saw some of MRS. MINIVER when TCM aired it this week. I enjoyed what I saw and hope to see the entire movie eventually.

 

My question: Was Walter Pidgeon's character supposed to be British? He didn't make any attempt to speak with any sort of an English accent (or any other United Kingdom accent) so it made me wonder if his character was supposed to be American or Canadian.

 

Richard Ney and Teresa Wright are both American, but you can hear that they are speaking in a way to suggest they are English.

Greer Garson, of course, spoke with an authentic accent

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  • 4 months later...

Yes, he's supposed to be English. He sort of vaguely does an upmarket mid-Atlantic accent. I like him in the role.

 

Someone in a similar situation where I don't think it works is in my favorite Meryl Streep movie -- Out of Africa, a film filled with people with accents -- Meryl's brilliant Danish accent; lots of English actors -- Michael Gough, Rachel Kempson, Michael Kitchen. And whom did they get to play Denys Finch-Hatton, one of the most romantic English leads ever? Robert Redford, who makes absolutely NO attempt at sounding English!

 

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The discussion of Walter Pidgeon's lack of any kind of British accent in his movie roles as British characters in the "Egregious Examples of Miscasting" thread reminded me this thread I posted a few months ago . . . so I am bumping it.

 

From the comments in the other thread, I presume that Pidgeon's character in MRS. MINIVER was indeed supposed to be English despite his North American speech pattern in the movie. 

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The discussion of Walter Pidgeon's lack of any kind of British accent in his movie roles as British characters in the "Egregious Examples of Miscasting" thread reminded me this thread I posted a few months ago . . . so I am bumping it.

 

From the comments in the other thread, I presume that Pidgeon's character in MRS. MINIVER was indeed supposed to be English despite his North American speech pattern in the movie. 

 

Well with actors under contract the studio was paying them if they worked or not.   So I assume Pidgeon was cast because he was available and the producers believe he could make it work.    But it would be interesting to hear the POV of the producers or director to find out if they asked Pidgeon to try a British accent and he just wasn't  convining (natural) OR if they felt it just didn't matter (i.e. something like close enough for jazz????). 

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The scene in the clip below is a good example of what I'm talking about.

Listening to this conversation between Mr. and Mrs.Miniver, one would think that Greer Garson's character is an Englishwoman married to an American or a Canadian.

 

 

 

 

When I saw scenes like this I was expecting some explanation for Walter Pidgeon's accent, but apparently his character is supposed to be English . . . even though he sounds like he is from North America.

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The scene in the clip below is a good example of what I'm talking about.

Listening to this conversation between Mr. and Mrs.Miniver, one would think that Greer Garson's character is an Englishwoman married to an American or a Canadian.

 

 

 

 

When I saw scenes like this I was expecting some explanation for Walter Pidgeon's accent, but apparently his character is supposed to be English . . . even though he sounds like he is from North America.

 

Now, whaddaya talkin' about here, Holden?! Now didn't Walter just say to Greer in this clip, "Thank heavens, I SHAN'T have to talk to you about this!"???

 

Now tell me here, dude...When's the last time YOU ever said "shan't" in a freakin' sentence, HUH?! ;)

 

LOL

 

Okay, okay, yeah, I see what you're sayin' here, but all I can tell you here is that for SOME odd reason, for YEARS I thought Walter WAS British. And so, maybe, at least in MY case anyway, I always bought into the concept that Walter COULD have been one of the King's subjects who helped the British Army evacuate off the shores of Dunkirk and live to fight the Jerrys(...err, I mean "THE KRAUTS"...I'm a Yank here, remember) another day in that movie. ;)

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Now, whaddaya talkin' about here, Holden?! Now didn't Walter just say to Greer in this clip, "Thank heavens, I SHAN'T have to talk to you about this!"???

 

Now tell me here, dude...When's the last time YOU ever said "shan't" in a freakin' sentence, HUH?! ;)

 

LOL

 

Okay, okay, yeah, I see what you're sayin' here, but all I can tell you here is that for SOME odd reason, for YEARS I thought Walter WAS British. And so, maybe, at least in MY case anyway, I always bought into the concept that Walter COULD have been one of the King's subjects who helped the British Army evacuate off the shores of Dunkirk and live to fight the Jerrys(...err, I mean "THE KRAUTS"...I'm a Yank here, remember) another day in that movie. ;)

 

Isn't it likely that you saw him in a few movies actings as British character and therefore you assumed he was actual British? 

 

Note that this occurs to many John Wayne fans;  they think he really WAS a war hero!  

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Isn't it likely that you saw him in a few movies actings as British character and therefore you assumed he was actual British? 

 

 

 

Yeah, maybe...but I'm STILL thinkin' it MIGHT be MORE 'cause he'd throw that "shan't" word out occasionally!

 

AND, as we know, NO good ol' 'Merican boy EVER says "shan't"...though I DO think there's a pocket of Canadians just outside of Toronto who still say that word, 'cause they could never totally cut those ol' British apron strings, ya know! ;)

 

(...yep, just LIKE that ol' British superfluous letter 'u' they still use up there TOO!!!) 

 

LOL

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Now, whaddaya talkin' about here, Holden?! Now didn't Walter just say to Greer in this clip, "Thank heavens, I SHAN'T have to talk to you about this!"???

 

 

 

The "shan't" sounds especially odd because Walter Pidgeon doesn't have any sort of an English accent when he says it --- not even that pseudo-English accent that you sometimes hear American movie actors use when they're trying to play English characters.

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