Saturday, December 6, 2008

It Happened Here

"It Happened Here" (Kevin Brownlow/Andrew Mollo, 1965)
Alternative history piece by the teen-aged Brownlow and Mollo of a Britain that fell to the Nazi's after Dunkirk. Even for so slight a film, there doesn't seem enough material to turn into a straight-forward mock-dicumentary, so the two young filmmakers follow the narrative of a nurse who first flees, then collaborates with the National Socialists in the occupation of Britain. There's a lot of cleverly made footage of Nazi troops goose-stepping through Trafalgar Square, although that becomes repetitious fast. Ultimately, Brownlow and Mollo chuck any pretensions of a psuedo-documentary to see the changes (and eerie similarities) between '60's Britain and life under a Nazi regime. So, rather than a contemplation on history it becomes a sociological tract and a not-very-well-done story. Production values are ofthe "Night of the Living Dead" level—watchable, but with so many flaws you lose count and take the gaffes for granted, lowering one's expectations.

One interesting note: it's one of the few screen appearances of
Sebastian Shaw who played the older Anakin Skywalker in "Return of the Jedi."

Brownlow has gone on to become an exemplary film scholar with many documentaries, including some definitive ones about Charles Chaplin.

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