Sunday, January 24, 2010

"Into the Storm" (2009) *****

*****He was a drunk and a "war monger" and in the dark days of 1940 Winston Spencer Churchill saved Great Britain and the free world when no one else would stand up to Hitler and Nazi Germany !

Last night I watched a Netflix copy of "Into The Storm" an HBO movie that is a continuation of the earlier HBO movie "The Gathering Storm." The earlier HBO movie dealt with Churchill's Wilderness Years" between World War I & II. "Into the Storm" covers his World War II years. While not as good as the first movie, I will buy the DVD and will watch it over and over because it is very good. The new movie has different actors who are good ..... I especial like the actress who portrays Churchill's wife Clementine. The movie is only two hours and at points has a "greatest hits" of the war years quality to it. However, when the movie deals with Churchill's personal life it is wonderful. Perhaps you need the "greatest hits" of history to put context to his personal life. The movie is a series of flashbacks to Churchill's war years as he awaits the election results of Great Brittan's first general election since the end of the war in 1945. (Churchill lost)Churchill is on vacation with his wife and family in the south of France and he is obsessed with the election results but keeps thinking back to the war which he "loved". As much as he loved the war it brought great pain to him physically and to his relationship with his wife and children. The movie is very effective in this regard. I also particularly like the weekly conversations he has with the King during the war and the development of their relationship. Churchill was not an easy man to live with and his wife and servants put up with a lot. But as he said in the first movie "I am a great man." There is no question of that.

On of my favorite parts of the movie is after the fall of France and the evacuations at Dunkirk. England stands alone! Some in the British War Cabinet suggest negotiations through Mussolini for a peace agreement with Nazi Germany. Churchill says he would negotiate if he felt it would save England but he believes Hitler would not honor any agreement. He goes on to tell Parliament and the English People:

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.

In the movie the speech is shown with cuts to people of all walks of life in England listening to the speech on the radio. They are all afraid and Churchill is giving them the "backbone" to carry on.