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1940s House
1940s House
Actors: Ben Hymers, Kirstie Hymers, Lyn Hymers, Michael Hymers, Thomas Hymers
Director: Caroline Ross-Pirie
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Television
NR     2003     3hr 0min

One modern family takes on the challenge of domestic life on Britain's home front in this recreation of a World War II household. This time-travel experiment covers the period from the outbreak of the war in 1939 to Victor...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Ben Hymers, Kirstie Hymers, Lyn Hymers, Michael Hymers, Thomas Hymers
Director: Caroline Ross-Pirie
Creators: Sheryl Sandler, Alex Graham, Simon Shaw
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Family Films, Television
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 08/05/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 3hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 33
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Samantha K. (entilzah) from OSCODA, MI
Reviewed on 6/25/2015...
I truly liked this documentary. There were times I wanted to cry right along with the ladies of the house. I however wish they would have shown what the Man of the house was doing while the women well did everything. Cooking, cleaning, volunteer work, a job, taking care of the kids. He did manage to make the bomb shelter. Us woman think we have it bad now, back then men didn't do much other than work and sit around. He wasn't complaining about the food issue and a few of us figure while at work he got modern food and extra. Or maybe he is just a really easy going guy.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Powerful time machine to World War II
Gwyn Gwyrdd | USA | 09/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The 1940's House is one in a series of PBS projects which place modern families in historical settings in order to study social and economical pressures - along with of course, a study in technological differences. What makes 1940's house particularly unique is that the family isn't just experiencing the household appliances or work ethic or social strata of the day, but are placing themselves in the hands of scientists are particulary interested in wartime Brittain. Brittain was one of the most controlled countries in the world during wartime, but it helped them survive. In this series, the family is subjected to wartime rations, Brittish law (blackout demands and so forth), Bomb raids, and are plunged into the type of hectic schedule the average citizen was expected to keep in order to make sure everyone did their part. The family is made up of a young mother and her two young boys and her parents. Midway, as in many households of the day, the father is sent away for wartime employment and the women are left alone to survive.My husband and I have been watching the house shows (Manor House, Frontier House, etc.) in historical chronological order. This is obviously the last that we watched, and though this is an extremely hard thing for me to say since they're all so interesting, it is the best. I'm sure some will disagree. However, the major difference we have seen that has endeared this particular series to our hearts is the startling difference in attitude of the family involved. Sure, the family becomes cranky and upset from time to time (mostly because of hunger and a shortage of cigarettes) but their mindset from the beginning is clear - we here to reenact war. As the grandmother so positively put it, "we don't have to worry about our lives, we haven't had any deaths, so the least we can do is subject ourselves to the other hardships that were experienced". From the beginning the family displays the greatest respect for the project and for the people that truly experienced this period in history. Other House series do give the impression that some of the participants were more interested in stardom than history. Not so with this family. Their sense of duty to the project lends the entire program an appeal missing from other PBS projects. Perhaps one key factor to this resilient attitude is the fact that they are constantly put in contact with those who really experienced what they are reenacting. On top of this, original BBC broadcasts are played on the home radio, with real footage of people who had survived bomb raids. Throughout the program, you see the family literally beginning to change much the way that people who truly lived in that era would have. The oldest boy, who is not even out of elementary school, becomes a small man. The women become stronger and more independent. All say they have learned to look out rather than always in and see those in need around them. This is perhaps one of the greatest war memorials we have ever seen - better than any plaque, or cold stone structure. Here, those involved in the project have done the best they can to place themselves in the shoes of the greatest generation - for the sake of "just doing it". My husband and I frequently found ourselves moved to tears.This series would be marvelous for any family to watch together - and would be a fabulous tool in schools. We need to understand what our elders suffered to bring us the freedom and wealth we have today. It is a shame that our society has become so reliant on materialistic stimulation. On top of that, we have brought narcissism to new heights - all while complaining we don't hav enough. We have so much, but are often too lazy to appreciate it. If you watch only one of the "House" projects, 1940's House is by far the best. Thankfully, more of these wonderful projects are underway with "Regency House" (Jane Austen's period) and "Colonial House" (Pilgrims period)having just been filmed this year."
A Stand Out Amongst the BBC House series
RitaSV | WA USA | 10/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Having seen Frontier House, Regency House, Colonial House and Manor House, I have to say that 1940's House boldly outshines them in one particular aspect. The family selected was earnest in their attempts to live the way a family of war time Brits would have.

While the concept of the House series is fascinating I've often been disappointed in the people chosen to participate in the various programs. It's almost as if they deliberately choose people that they know will complain, cheat and fail as opposed to someone who would be deeply committed to making it work. I was not disappointed in the Hymers. This family was fascinating to watch as their relationships altered from their year 2000 existence to that of 1940 to 1944. Daughter Kristie finds previously unknown strength and self-confidence, Mom Lyn discovers an even deeper respect for her parent's generation and what they endured, the boys Ben and Thomas draw closer to each other when they live a simpler if more challenging lifestyle. They were not perfect and it was understandable that they should complain a bit but, overall,they all persevered with great humor and love.

This was a very endearing look at the way an incredible generation endured hardship. It will warm your heart."
The way it was - Britian 1940s
JMR | Minneapolis, MN | 03/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I love this DVD. I think I've watched it about a half dozen times and find myself now addicted to that era. I had no idea the hardships that people went through. My mother would tell me about rationing here in the US but it was nothing like waht these people went through. The Hymers did a good job of showing the shock and ability to adapt as one after another hardship was thrown at them. This really is very much a show of how politics and issues outside the home unit affect people. Things were happening the Hymers had no control over, they just had to deal with the reduction in food and air raids, etc... I know it wasn't exactly like what people really went through but it sure opened my eyes! I tried to live on the rations allowed for each person for a week. Some of it was easy because I don't do heavy phyiscal activity so I didn't need as much of the fats. However...the tiny bit of cheese and meat did turn into a challenge. And I confess to sneaking more than one Diet Pepsi during my week of denial. The 1940s and all that went along with it and the war are fading in people's memory. The 'Greatest Generation" is passing. Hopefully shows like this will remind us a little of what forced people to rise to the challenge."