Cinemapondering: Mrs. Miniver

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Thursday  May 2nd was the National Day of Prayer for 2019.  Back in 1952 a presidential proclamation under Harry  Truman determined that a day should be set aside for national prayer.  Although we don’t go back that far, my friend Audrey and I have participated together  in person  or spirit since the 1980s when the 1st  Thursday in May was officially designated for this purpose.

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The theme for the 2019 National Day of Prayer

My Dad, who was a Gideon, was a great promoter as well as participant in this prayer movement.    I recall prominent posters tacked to his office and garage walls advertising these events.  Indulging my nostalgia, it is no doubt that my dad contributed to my love for vintage and the classic movies I write about.  In fact it was  he that actually introduced me to the movie Mrs. Miniver, (on our 12 inch  kitchen t.v.) in the first place.   On that date I recall a black and white movie depicting a noisy flotilla of small motor boats moving down a river toward the sea. Not too interesting to a teen who had already seen Star Wars.  All I really remember him saying at that time was that this was a true story and he thought I should watch it.

kitchenminiverMore accurately, Mrs. Miniver is an account of  the effects of WWII on a fictional British  family in a small village.  My Dad’s “true story” declaration comes from the movie’s depiction of the Battle of Britain and the lesser known (to me at that time)  Miracle of Dunkirk. Now thanks to movies like Atonement (2007) and Dunkirk (2017), we are more aware of that particular period in late May of 1940.  But from the movies  we  only get part of the story.

 

If boatsyou were to have seen this Oscar winner in 1942, you would have been aware of the events that had recently taken place on the European Continent. Because it’s based on history, no spoiler alert is necessary.  However, because I’m denied the use of any stills from this movie,  my description must try to equal the eeriest of scenes, when in the middle of the night,  local fishermen  join hundreds of  other small boats in the English Channel.  Confronted by a  seemingly deserted troopship, two sirens sound a warning.  Then a disembodied  voice, heard through a loudspeaker,  charges  these villagers with the task of rescuing some half million  British troops off the coast of France.  British  high command deemed they must be  rescued in order  to defend England from inevitable German attack, so they devised “Operation Dynamo”  which depended on civilian assistance. With  risks for death in an open sea as well as constant air bombardment these  civilian fishermen in their little boats bravely returned  over 336,000 troops  to their home shores.

But here’s the part that ties Mrs. Miniver to the celebration of a National Day of Prayer.  Although historically accurate,  it’s only implied in this film, that prior to launching Operation Dynamo, King George VI called for a “National Day of Prayer to be held on 26th May, 1940.” In a national broadcast he instructed the people of the UK” to turn back to God in a spirit of repentance and plead for Divine help.”(1)  Because of the risk for imminent attack without their home based army, Britons  took this request seriously and closed schools and businesses to allow for more participation.

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Citizen line up to enter Westminster Abbey on May 26, 1940 a British National Day of Prayer. Millions of people across the British Isles flocked into churches praying for deliverance (1)

When you become aware of the connection between that public ,corporate  prayer behind Operation Dynamo  and the events surrounding the civilian evacuation of military troops it’s hard to deny the supernaturally influenced  outcome.  These are the things my Dad wanted me to know when a country prays:

A significant storm blew up over the coastal town of Dunkirk which made it impossible for German aircraft to continue to fly and drop bombs on stranded soldiers.

Although the storm affected visibility for flying, at the same time the channel waters were inexplicably calmer than usual allowing for the civilian boats to repeatedly offload the troops.

Hitler also inexplicably ceased his advance of tank artillery against the town of Dunkirk a fact that continues to be debated at WWII round table discussions.

Civilian sea captains were able to rescue 336,000  soldiers instead of the 30,000 anticipated as a measure of success for Operation Dynamo.

The producers of the film were aware of these statistics and personally participated in the war effort.  The “sermon” filmed in the bombed out church which marks the final scene of Mrs. Miniver was printed in pamphlets which were airdropped over England to increase morale.  Winston Churchill was known to have declared that Mrs. Miniver did more for the morale of the British people that an entire fleet of destroyers ever could.  On March 4, 1943 when the film Mrs. Miniver won 7 academy awards, William Wyler the film’s director was unable to attend because he was flying missions over the coast of Europe at that time.

Read the accounts.  Watch the film. It’s chronicled as the Miracle of Dunkirk for a reason. And because America could do with  a rescue  right now,  we  offer up this movie as an  encouragement for intercession for our nation.

 

 

(1) from National Day of Prayer at the time of Dunkirk 1940 by George Conger, June 8, 2015 in Anglican Ink

 

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Just for Fun

We’re having a little fun with the mom characters that appear in the book A Reel Meaning for Christmas.  (See the sidebar/widget or look for it at https://www.redemption-press.com/shop/a-reel-meaning-for-christmas/.  While  these ladies live out their entire lives in a matter of  2 hours onscreen, the book fleshes them out by applying a personality test to these characters.  Now because it’s Mother’s Day  we’ve taken the liberty to imagine what they’d be doing and wearing (my daughter’s suggestion) outside of the Christmas season.  Take the same personality test on the Screen Test page to see how you connect to your favorite character.

It’s Interactive! Click on the pictures for quotes and descriptions.

The Bishop’s Wife  Julia Brougham See  Post dated December 16, 2018

The Preacher’s Wife  Julia Biggs See Post dated December 23, 2018 for details

It’s a Wonderful Life  Mary Bailey See Post dated November 18, 2018 and March 17, 2019

Miracle on 34th Street  Doris Walker  See Post dated November 11, 2108

This project has always been about using classic resources to build up inner character.  Today we used some contemporary sources to pretty up the outside.  How did we do?  Which fashion pieces fit your style?   Which character connects with you?  See the “Screen Test” page on the menu to connect.  The remaining characters will be highlighted in posts throughout the summer.  Thanks for following.

Shopping and photography credits to:  Bonnie Hilton and Sarah Hallett

Cinemapondering again at Easter

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“I’m such an  unholy mess of a girl.”  Tracy Samantha Lord in The Philadelphia Story

The Sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit–A broken spirit and contrite heart he will not despise Psalm 51:17

Because I write this blog with the express purpose of juxtaposing classic movie quotes with transcendent Biblical Scripture, I’m proud to say that the sources from which I quote are relevant in today’s culture. My purpose for this project is to show how these quotes can influence our daily thinking.   Because we are currently in the Season of Lent and approaching Holy Week I will try my hand at this serious couplet today.

First of all, anyone familiar with this 1940 James Cuckor  comedy The Philadelphia Story has to admit that this film has it all.

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In a sentence, “A- list” actors engage each other in rapid fire banter within a series of lavish settings in order to set the scene for a group of sophisticates  gathered to celebrate a socialite’s second wedding.  The British Film Institute  categorizes this film into a genre called “screwball” comedies which became popular during the Great Depression when typical middle class people used films as a means of escapism from their daily deficiencies.  Popular topics included poking fun at wealthy elites while elevating the practical and pragmatic choices of the Everyman.  Indeed  major themes in The Philadelphia Story include assumptions and arguments over class divisions and calling out the cryptic snobbery evident on both sides of the tracks. Just “lookit” some of these one liners that are so prevalent throughout the film:

“The prettiest sight in this fine, pretty world is the Privileged class enjoying its’ privileges”–McCauley ‘Mike’ Connor– The Philadelphia Story 

And the following abridged (mine) interaction between Mike Connor and Tracy Lord

“How do you mean I’m a snob?”-Mike

“You’re the worst kind there is: an intellectual snob. You’ve made up your mind, awfully young it seems —The time to make up your mind about people is never.” -Tracy

The age old class war is just one of the overt messages.  There are many  more subtle and covert themes which  make this movie worth discussing in several posts.

But deep within the film and 1939 Philip Barry stageplay, I’m drawn to the lines  I penned at the top.

“I’m such an unholy mess of a girl.”  Tracy Samantha Lord

and another abridged  interaction between Tracy’s little sister and her uncle in the play:

“How did you know about that?’–I mean about people- and sin.”  -Dinah Lord

“I only know that they are inseparable.”  -Uncle Willie

How did this discussion end up in such a progressive comedy?  While it may be true that the words sin and unholy were used  more often in the  common culture a generation ago, they seem specially selected for these scenes.  But sin and unholiness  are serious enough to actually break God’s heart and separate a person  from Him.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

And what is one  supposed to do with this information?  To admit that one is unholy, has sinned and fallen short of a standard, is the first step to recovering  a relationship with Him.  The Philadelphia Story may be instrumental in generating spiritual contemplation but it’s the Bible that reveals God’s nature and desire to reconnect with us.

The Lord, The Lord the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding  in love and faithfulness. maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Exodus 34:6-7

The gospel of  Matthew 9:1-12 demonstrates Jesus’ authority to forgive sin and that gospel as a whole refers specifically  to many of the old testament prophecies  fulfilled in the life of Jesus.  All throughout the Christmas season I reposted this maxim which doesn’t change just because it’s now Easter:

Get to know Jesus the Real Reason for the Season,  He would die for you to get to know him better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ReelMeaningful Blessings

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Bread – that this house may never know hunger

Salt – that life may always have flavor

And wine that joy and prosperity may reign forever

Enter the Martini Castle!

(George and Mary Bailey–It’s a Wonderful Life)

 

Fans of the classic holiday films featured in this blog  intuitively  know that, “Christmas isn’t just a day– it’s a frame of mind.”  And  we don’t need December weather to recapture the holiday mindset.  Recently  I got a chance to be nostalgic with a simple housewarming gift which conjured  a scene from  It’s a Wonderful Life.

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In hopes of invoking a specialty store flair, I shopped for the 3 quote ingredients at the  local Trader Joe’s.  Then because I am neither gifted with calligraphy nor even a legible hand, I printed the quote in a regal font and affixed my wishes onto the already attractive bags.

Because of their significance to me, I have been known to try to channel the characters and timeless messages of these Christmas films into daily life.  Over the years of amassing a collection of vintage accessories, I also wrote my favorite quotes into cards and on gifts like the one pictured above.  My focus on classic quotes and characters from these great films was entertainment, but sometimes when spoken by themselves they  sounded superficial and were  devoid of lasting purpose.  Real enlightenment  came when these  character quotes were paired with and  illuminated by transcendent Scripture.  ( please compare previous posts from August 23, and October 15 2018).

What  gifts do you like to give for a housewarming or wedding etc?  Which special  sentiments have you attached to them to make them real meaningful?

 

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Who knew the book of Job could inspire such a blessing?

 

By wisdom a house is built and by understanding it is established. By  knowledge it’s rooms are filled with all pleasant and precious riches.  Proverbs 24:3-4

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty Pop Up Pics

 

(This time I cheated and just used this link for the film clips)

For the February installment I submit  a Valentine complete with  a montage of classic romantic film clips,

sugar treats                                  strawberries

and sweet truths                   IMG_4786

with opportunities for spiritual conversation and contributions to a worthy cause.

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Our version of the Valentine met the guests at the front door with iconically quaint party favors which warmed  them up to view  the “Kissing Movies” as my co worker called them. Thought provoking questions staged at each  food or boutique station were answered with relevant Scripture to encourage readers and   spark meaningful interactions as they shopped the pop up heart boutique.  (Which raised money for the American Heart Association.)
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Did you find yourself at this party last Thursday?   Can you see yourself at a party like this next Valentine’s Day or even next Sweetest Day?   How about a philanthropic theme for a wedding shower or engagement party? These are unique fundraisers (mutually agreed upon charities please)  at  your home or church which emphasize Biblical Scripture  to encourage participants with the truth and open up a non threatening means of sharing the Gospel.  Please inquire about opportunities to host an outreach party on the content page.  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pop Up

 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 A Pop Up Valentine Boutique

to Benefit the American Heart Association

is planned for Thursday, February 14 between noon and 5 pm. Inquiries to Contact Page

#alwaysaboutthemovies                                                             heartvite                                                          #alwaysincludesthebible

Stop by for Goodies and a Good Cause

 

 

 

Baby It’s Still Cold Outside

 

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Even though I’ve talked about it regularly since August, I now concede. Christmas is over. My decorations were packed away by January 6th,  but I admit to sneaking a bit of Vince Guaraldi  and the Cambridge Singers into my  music mix every once in awhile.  And speaking of music  how about the newsworthy controversy concerning  the song Baby it’s Cold Outside?  Written by Frank Loesser in 1944, this mid century song has been  featured in movies which depict traditional gender roles since 1949. Then this  song, with bounce between banter, was remixed by popular male and female vocalists alike for the remaining half century plus to become a recognizable harbinger of vintage Christmas  past.  I actually own a  Dean Martin cassette tape with his rendition of the song, (and a CD entitled A Bachelor Pad Christmas.)  I have to be careful about revealing my age when I use Bachelor Pad, Dean Martin and tape cassette in the same sentence.

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But now I’d like to tell you a story of something that happened to me on December 13, this Christmas season.  Although this post will turn into the longest one I’ve written so far, I will tell the story as I remember it, then offer up some of  the comments I received when I shared my experience.

Context:  Dinner- out with my husband and friends; we are linked together via a  ministry  which we all support.  We are dining at a vintage courthouse  turned restaurant in a beautifully illuminated historic village. Although we are in the foyer of the restaurant we are next to a sidewalk sandwich sign embellished with the title of the song in question along with an admonition to come inside to warm up —“Baby It’s Cold Outside–Come in for food and drinks that will warm you up.”  My back is to the doorway and I’m having a conversation with 2 of the gentlemen in the group.

Conversations:  Noticing the placard, one  of my group asked why the song was so controversial. Intending to share what I thought would be a non biased answer, I said that some people believe that  the dialogue contained in the  stanzas indicate that despite the woman’s many protestations that she “really must go”  the man  repeatedly tries to make   her stay against her wishes.  Before we could get much deeper,  a woman’s voice from behind me interrupts with information that although it’s obviously not as profane as some rap songs, proponents of the controversy  think it’s important that the public is not kept in the dark about the realities of how men can be. (Men of a certain generation? All men?) I was too taken aback to clarify.  She and her male companion  now move directly next to us where she re iterated that she just doesn’t want anyone to be duped. As they moved past us toward their table her male companion asked us how we would feel if [our] daughter was offered a drink like the one referred to in the second stanza.

Immediate Consequences:  As I recall, none of us responded to these comments.  While we stood there and smiled, I felt schooled*.  When we 3 joined the others at our table we told them what happened but didn’t spend too much time re hashing the incident.  We came to the restaurant intending to celebrate a small  Christmas party, exchange gifts, and have a good time.  We succeeded.

Comments:  When I inevitably shared my story with family and friends I was met with comments which ranged from:

“So what’s the problem?”

“That was so rude of them to interrupt and  give un solicited comments.”

“I wasn’t aware there was reference to a drink in that song–that’s another story.  Did he slip her a mickey?” which resulted in examining a second stanza  of inferential lyrics and drawing our own conclusions. That ensuing conversation was long and  deep in regard to general morality, traditional expectations, and old fashioned chivalry.

Once again, I’m proud to say that the classic sources from which I quote each week are relevant today. Because I write this blog with the express purpose of juxtaposing classic movie quotes with transcendent Biblical Scripture this final conversation concluded with dialogue from a 1940 movie The Philadelphia Story where the female character asks her male lead  why he didn’t make a pass at her.

“Was I so unattractive, so distant, so forbidding  or something?”  Tracy Lord                    The Philadelphia Story

“…On the contrary but you also were a little worse…or  the better–for wine and there are rules about that.”   Macauley Connor  (same movie)

(Sigh) rules.  It doesn’t matter which generation  they belong to, the chivalrous know the rules and we feel safer.

I will bless the Lord who counsels me; even at night my conscience instructs me.  Psalm 16:7

*So that’s my story. At 57 years old I have accepted at least one thing about myself.  I require time to process information before I respond to a situation.  I wish I were a first responder but alas I am a next day responder at best.  If I have one regret about the outcome of this situation, it’s this:  What if when I smiled, I acknowledged their passion regarding this topic, thanked them for their opinion and handed them a Bible, explaining that the person about whom this Bible was written is what I’m most passionate about.  But alas  I didn’t even have that thought til December 14.

You may be tired of this controversy and maybe even tired of talking Christmas itself, but I’d love to hear your opinion about the song, my restaurant interaction or any of the comments.  Thank you.