Here is one of my favorite scenes from the film, The Darkest Hour about the political climate in Britain early in World War II. Winston Churchill is the new Prime Minister who faces the distinct possibility of the total destruction of the British troops at Dunkirk or negotiating peace, actually facing defeat to Hitler through discussions with Mussolini. Much of the film is shot in the War Room and governing chamber of Westminster with persuasive dialogue between the “doves” lead by former Prime Minister Chamberlain and the “hawks” lead by Churchill. The scene before this shot on “the tube” shows Churchill in his car , commenting that he has never in his life ridden on a bus. He jumps out of his chauffeured driven car and enters the tube, the London subway. The ordinary Brits’ facial expressions and body language changes from disbelief , wonder to joy as they interact with the Prime Minster. As Mr. Churchill wandered from person to groups, grabbing to stay on his feet, he asks their opinion of the war. The “V” for victory flashed through the crowd with cheers encouraging the Prime Minister to carry on for complete victory , not surrender. These are the blue collar, working class people who bore the suffering of war with their sons fighting and dying, as well as abject poverty and shortage of food and supplies. But they supported Churchill , his stand and encouraged him to press on without surrender.
There is no research that this tube ride with the masses actually took place. Of course the Churchill “V” for victory is proved with many images and his committed victory speeches. And of course, it was the masses who responded to Churchill’s call to sail to the population of Britain to sail private boats to Dunkirk for the emergency evacuation of the British and Belgian forces. Such a moving scene in both films of the small private armada of yachts and fishing vessels as the British sail onto the horizon after being inspired by their Prime Minister’s call to sail and bring home their boys!
Well, you might wonder where I am going with this. How can there be a connection this the story of PM Churchill and today? Thank about it. . . someone who is upper class , educated, and very rich connecting with the masses. Yes, I am thinking about our President Trump. Now I am not endorsing all of what Mr. Trump does or says, though I agree with with much of what he has done as president but little of what he says or how he says it. That is a topic for a future blog, maybe ! Just think about his ability to communicate with the masses. . . . the blue collar working public in-spite of their extreme wealth. Mr. Churchill and Mr. Trump did and can do that very well. They gave and give a voice to the voiceless. I am not sure how Churchill connected to the people in such a similar way but it seems to me that Mr. Trump’s outgoing personality and daily contact with the various tradesmen in his construction business gave him a splendid opportunity to speak and understand as one of the guys!
For me this is one of the purposes of films. to make learning connections, learn about history ,and human nature. I would love it to hear about your experiences in this aspects of watching film. Do you agree with my connection or not? Why or why not?
This summer on our WW II trip to England and France, my children and their families visited The War Rooms in London where much of this film is set. I didn’t and I wish I had! But this film made it come alive.