There was a new movie about Churchill right before D-Day out this spring, starring Brian Cox as Winston, that was so bad I didn’t even bother with a smackdown here. Andrew Roberts wrote that “The only problem with the movie – written by the historian Alex von Tunzelmann – is that it gets absolutely everything wrong. Never in the course of movie-making have so many specious errors been made in so long a film by so few writers.” That’s all you need to know. And the less said about John Lithgow’s portrayal of Churchill in The Crown (Lithgow is well over six feet tall, playing a man who was only 5’6″) the better.
Fortunately, another Churchill movie has finished production, Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman as Churchill, and focusing on the key period of the first weeks of Churchill’s premiership in 1940. Based on the trailer below, it looks not only that Oldman is a superior Churchill, but that it gets the key moment—the climactic events in the war cabinet of May 27-28 (which were unknown to the public until the 1980s)—exactly right. A couple of previous attempts, especially the HBO version of Finest Hour about ten years back, don’t get it right. (In addition to the brief evidence in the trailer, I’m pretty sure some sound friends of mine had significant input into the script.)
Here’s the trailer, just out today: