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Close Encounters

Harvard Film Archive periodically invites members of the community to select a favorite film to introduce to the public. We are pleased that the Reverend Peter Gomes will return this season, after his lively and unique moral commentary on Babette’s Feast last year, to share his insights on another classic film.


Introduced by the Reverend Peter Gomes
February 14 (Thursday) 8 pm

Mrs. Miniver

Directed by William Wyler
US 1942, 35mm, b/w, 134 min.
With Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright

Winston churchill once commented that Mrs. Miniver was “more powerful to the war effort than the combined work of six military divisions,” and its director, William Wyler, made no secret of the fact that he was attempting to shift American isolationist sentiment about entering the European conflict in World War II. More than half a century later, the film still manages to convey the spirit and determination of the British people in the face of the Nazi threat. The tale of an average “middle-class British family” and its struggle to maintain a normal life in the face of military attack on the home front, Mrs. Miniver was a massive commercial success: it was nominated for twelve Academy Awards, garnered six of them, and was the top grossing film in its year of release. Our screening is part of a national celebration of the centennial anniversary of William Wyler’s birth, organized by the director’s granddaughter.

Reverend Peter Gomes is the Pusey Minister at Harvard University’s Memorial Church and the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals. He is the author of The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart and Sermons: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living.  

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