It Happened Here (1965)

Article 3756 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-14-2011
Posting Date: 11-26-2011
Directed by Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo
Featuring Pauline Murray, Sebastian Shaw, Bart Allison
Country: UK
What it is: Alternate history tale

In England after the successful Nazi invasion of 1943, a nurse discovers that, in order to continue in her profession, she must embrace National Socialism and its philosophy. But will she be able to have her profession and her conscience as well…?

That this movie got made at all is amazing; the two directors began work on it in 1956 when they were both teenagers, and it took them eight years to complete. Alternate histories are a rare thing in cinematic science fiction, and this one is gritty, harrowing, very sad and quite shocking. It’s also rather confusing at times, and a bit long-winded at others, and sometimes it’s just hard to hear what’s being said. Nevertheless, the movie is invaluable. One of its most important qualities is the way it allows us to understand how the Nazi philosophy is allowed to take root and to spread, and the movie manages to show this happening in a very plausible way; I liked in particular the way it plays up to the fears of the English people by emphasizing the threat of Communism, thus making it seem that they are really on the same side fighting the same enemy. I think this is a rare and valuable lesson to learn; when you consider how often Nazis are trotted out as standard villains, it’s important sometimes to address the seductive temptations of their philosophies. Whatever its flaws, this is a truly useful and memorable film.

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