Norton of Morton

Read a new instalment of Norton of Morton every Saturday at 4 o'clock

Saturday 7 July 2018

On Film: Darkest Hour/Dunkirk double bill

In which G.M. Norton attempts an epic double film marathon.

When Dunkirk was released at the cinema, I escaped by myself to the local picture house to enjoy it. There's something about going to watch a film on your own. While I was there, there was a trailer for the upcoming Churchill film, Darkest Hour. 

At the time, I thought how well Darkest Hour and Dunkirk complement each other. When The Darkest Hour was released on DVD, I pre-ordered and was very excited when it arrived. Before I had the opportunity to watch it, Father's Day came along and I was the fortunate recipient of a copy of Dunkirk. 

It was like it was meant to be. I could finally attempt the Darkest Hour/Dunkirk double bill. 

While Darkest Hour follows Churchill becoming Prime Minister and the political games at a time when hundreds of thousands of soldiers were stranded on the beaches in France, of course, Dunkirk drops the viewer right into the middle of the drama as the German pilots pick off soldiers waiting to be rescued.

My beloved can't abide war films, but somehow, I managed to get her to join me in this double film marathon. Gary Oldman was absolutely superb at Sir Winston Churchill, to the point that when the closing credits came up and I remarked on Oldman's performance, I heard: "That was Gary Oldman?!". It says it all really. 

We should never forget what people from so many nations went through during the Second World War. I recently discovered that my great uncle died at Dunkirk, leaving behind a wife and children. It sums up the spirit of Britain that so many boats willingly set off to journey across the English Channel to bring home our men. 

Both films are hugely emotive. I absolutely adore Churchill - although he was far from perfect, he was the leader we needed at the most critical time in our history. And by Jove, he was a master of words.
"We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."

If you get the opportunity, I would recommend watching this double bill.

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of 'Norton of Morton'

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