The Vicar's final rousing speech was printed in magazines like "Time" and "Look". President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered that it be broadcast on the Voice of America, and copies of it were dropped over Europe as propaganda. This speech has come to be known as The Wilcoxon Speech, in tribute to actor Henry Wilcoxon's stirring delivery of it.
William Wyler openly admitted that he made the film for propaganda reasons. Wyler - a Jew who was born in Germany - strongly believed that the US should join the war against Nazism, and was concerned that America's policy of isolationism would prove damaging, so he made a film that showed ordinary Americans what their British equivalents were undergoing at the time. The film's subsequent success had a profound effect on American sympathy towards the plight of the British. The US was already supporting the British Empire through Lend-Lease and the Destroyers for Bases Agreement. Lend-Lease had also been extended to the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941.
After completing the film, William Wyler joined the US Army and was posted to the Signal Corps; he was overseas on the night he won his first Oscar. He later revealed that his subsequent war experiences made him realize that the film actually portrayed war in too soft a light.
The closing speech, delivered by the vicar (Henry Wilcoxon) at the end of the film, was actually written by Wilcoxon and director, William Wyler, the night before it was filmed. Wyler had grown dissatisfied with the speech the screenwriters had come up with, and convinced Wilcoxon to help him improve it. The speech proved to be integral to the film's success, and was distributed across America and Europe in order to boost wartime morale amongst soldiers and civilians alike.
Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels wrote that Mrs. Miniver (1942) "shows the destiny of a family during the current war, and its refined powerful propagandistic tendency has up to now only been dreamed of. There is not a single angry word spoken against Germany; nevertheless the anti-German tendency is perfectly accomplished."
Greer Garson's Best Actress acceptance speech lasted an incredible 5 1/2 minutes, making it a Hollywood record. Over the years, the length of Garson's oration has been exaggerated to the point where some sources now claim she spoke for 30 minutes or more.
When Clem and his boat is requested with other small craft to Ramsgate this is in reference to 'The Little Ships of Dunkirk" that assisted in the evacuation of Dunkirk during the days of May 26 to June 4 1940. One of the boats was piloted by the 2nd Ofcr from the Titanic Charles Lightoller and his son with sea scout Gerald Ashcroft, the last name of the man in the boat with Clem Miniver.
After first-choice Norma Shearer rejected the title role (as she refused to play a mother), Greer Garson was cast. Although she didn't want the part either she was contractually bound to take it, and won the Academy Award for her performance.
Jan Struther's book of essays, on which the film is based, was published in 1939. While some of the essays reflect the fear that England might be in a war, only the last essay occurs after war is declared. Some of the book's characters are the same as the movie's, but the events (the book has no plot) are completely different.
The United States officially joined World War II a month after filming began. Japan declared war on the United States and the British Empire on 7 December 1941. Four days later Germany and Italy declared war on the US due to Lend-Lease.
Metro Goldwyn-Mayer put Evelyn Ankers under contract after M.G.M. saw her in the British movie " Fire Over England " and was planning on making "Mrs. Miniver" earlier and putting Ankers in the role of Kay Miniver. M.G.M. felt Ankers was too young and put this movie on hold to hire another actress.
The first ever film to receive Academy Award nominations for Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress (2 nominations) and Screenplay. It won for all except the male acting categories.
"Walter Pidgeon goes to the desert as soon as he completes work in 'Mrs. Miniver' at MGM to shake a series of bad colds..." (Newspaper Enterprise Association, "Erskine Johnson's Hollywood," The San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, California, Sunday 1 February 1942, Volume 48, page 20.)
This film received its USA television premiere in Los Angeles Friday 19 October 1956 on KTTV (Channel 2), followed by Philadelphia Friday 7 December 1956 on WFIL (Channel 6), by Altoona PA Saturday 29 December 1956 on WFBG (Channel 10), by both New York City and Chicago Saturday 2 February 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2) and WBBM (Channel 2), by Omaha Sunday 10 February 1957 on WOW (Channel 6), and by Minneapolis Friday 1 March 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9); in San Francisco it was first telecast 8 February 1958 on KGO (Channel 7).