Sealion & Barbarossa
Operation Sea Lion
It Happened Here
It Happened Here
This is a classic film about life in occupied Britain after a successful German invasion in World War II. The film is not so much about the invasion itself, as about what happens afterwards.
The most chilling aspect of the film is the gradual slide towards collaborationism and active involvement in facist activities by both most of the British population as a whole, and by the main character in the film. There is a clear implication that almost everybody is vulnerable to falling under the evil spell of fascism.
The story of how the film was made is also quite interesting. The movie was released in 1966, but work was actually begun 8 years earlier - one of the longest, or perhaps even the longest, production schedule for any film. The film was directed by Kevin Brownlow, who was just 18 when he began work on the movie, and later was to become a prominent film historian. Brownlow was assisted by Andrew Mollo, who was even younger - just 16 - when he started work on the film, and who assisted with the historical details (Mollo later became a military historian). The cast of the film also involved only two professional actors, but hundreds of volunteers. The movie even received some assistance from Stanley Kubrik who donated some film stock. For further information about how the film was made, be sure to read Brownlow's book, How It Happened Here
Although the movie has an anti-fascism and anti-Nazi message, the original version of the film included a controversial seven minute section showing British extreme right-winger Colin Jordan, speaking. This footage was removed in the original release of the film, but restored 30 years later by Brownlow after he regained rights to the movie.
Inevitably, given the nature of the production, some compromises were made during making the film. The film was shot on 16mm and has a somewhat grainy character, additionally the sound quality, especially in the early part of the movie, is not the best. The other criticism that I would make is that the ending, to me, seemed somewhat contrived and unrealistic - but I guess that they needed someway to wrap the film up. These criticisms are however relatively minor - the film is a classic, and one that you will want to see. Like many alternate histories of World War II, it shows you what might have been, and how lucky we are that Nazism was defeated.
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