The Miniver Story
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Eight years after the triumph of Mrs. Miniver (1942), which had won 12 Academy Award nominations and five awards including Best Picture and Best Actress (Greer Garson), MGM chose to produce a sequel, The Miniver Story (1950), taking the characters from Jan Struther' source novel and putting them through new experiences. The decision to film the sequel in England, at MGM's lstree Studio, was among the efforts put forth by producer Sidney Franklin to make the sequel more authentic than the original. Others included more realistic sets and costumes.
Garson took an active role in creating the screenplay, which has the Miniver family being brought together after the end of World War II, the source of much of the drama of the original. She and Franklin agreed that, as Mrs. Miniver had personified British courage during the war, she should exemplify the experience of the postwar English people. Walter Pidgeon, returning as her husband, Clem, has a line in which he says, "You've had quite a war, Mrs. Miniver, and youÕre having quite a peace. Cooking, washing, scrubbing, standing in queues hunting for rations, finding the meals, reading the headlines..." Mrs. Miniver's new crises also involved an amorous American colonel (John Hodiak) and a terminal illness.
Returning from the original cast, along with Garson and Pidgeon, were Henry Wilcoxson and Reginald Owen as the local vicar and grocer. Noticeably absent was Richard Ney, who had played Garson's son in the original. In the interim, despite the nine-year difference in their ages, Garson had married and divorced the actor. Garson biographer Michael Troyan relates that, with characteristic humor, the actress proposed a means of explaining Ney's absence in the sequel: "Well, we could have a scene in which Walter and I - he with his newspaper, with my knitting - would be sitting at home one evening. I turn to him and say, 'Oh, by the way, I had a letter from Vinny today...You remember Vinny, our son who went off to Hollywood and married Greer Garson.'" An early story synopsis revealed the character's true fate: "Five years ago the Minivers lost their eldest, Vin, an RAF pilot, in the Battle of Britain."
Producer: Sidney Franklin
Director: H.C. Potter
Screenplay: George Froeschel, Ronald Millar, Randal Miller, inspired by characters created by Jan Struther
Cinematography: Joseph Ruttenberg
Costume Design: Gaston Malletti, Walter Plunkett
Editing: Frank Clarke, Harold F. Kress
Original Music: Miklos Rozsa, Herbert Stothart
Cast: Greer Garson (Kay Miniver), Walter Pidgeon (Clem Miniver), John Hodiak (Spike Romway), Leo Genn (Steven Brunswick), Cathy O'Donnell (Judy Miniver), Reginald Owen (Mr. Foley), Peter Finch (Polish officer).
by Roger Fristoe