The story of Hitler's England. In Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo's brilliant and chilling re-write of history, Germany has won World War II and Nazi troops occupy England. Pauline, an apolitical nurse, hopes only that nor... more »mal life will return to England. It is only after she accepts a nursing job with the Nazis that she slowly begins to realize the horrifying reality behind the occupation. "It Happened Here" is a masterful, terrifying vision of what might have happened if the Allied effort had failed. When first shown in 1964, seven minutes of controversial material was cut by the original distributor. This is the first presentation of the complete version, digitally remastered from the original 35mm materials.« less
"The premise of this most unusual war film is that Britain was invaded and occupied after the Dunkirk retreat, and in a mixture of documentary and narrative styles it sets out to tell the story of the occupation that the country narrowly (some would say, unaccountably) escaped, up to and including the 'liberation', orchestrated by the efforts of local partisans with American assistance, in the war's closing year.It is hard to believe that this film began its life as the spare-time project of 18-year-old Kevin Brownlow, a film enthusiast working in the cutting-room of a small London production company, and his 16-year-old schoolboy friend Andrew Mollo, who had a passion for military history and a collection of old German uniforms and regalia. Starting without a budget, using a borrowed 16 mm camera, the two doggedly pursued their dream of completing the project for almost eight years, finding actors, actresses, sets and backing as they went along. This is a low-key, reflective war drama, which follows its central character, an Irish- born district nurse working in a village near Salisbury, through the horrors of a partisan ambush that goes wrong, to a chilling Nazi-dominated vision of London, where she finds herself assimilated into the highly political "Immediate Action Organization" and receives her "political re-education", on to a rural medical centre specializing in euthanasia for "undesirables", through to the final chilling irony of "liberation" and the wholesale slaughter of "collaborators".The most famous sequence in the work is a six-minute scene in which genuine Neo- Nazis expound their ideas. The Directors were required to cut this sequence at the behest of its first distributor, United Artists, but it has now been reinstated.I found this film disturbing, unsettling, unforgettable. The scale of the achievement involved in the creation of a work of this quality from such humble beginnings can hardly be overstated."
A Fine Independent British Film From The 1960's
E. Parsons | 07/16/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll start off by just mentioning a few minor niggles. Firstly, the film is presented in a TV 4:3 aspect ratio. I don't know what print was available to the DVD's producers, but the original aspect ratio (1.85:1 at a guess) would have been more desirable. The movie's ending is also quite abrupt - I had to look twice when the film's end title appeared. And finally, the 1974 follow-up documentary 'It Happened Here Again' which appears on some VHS versions, is sadly missing from this DVD. Now that's out of the way, please ignore what I've just written as the DVD's good points far outweigh the bad. The film was produced at a time when 'warts and all' realism was the driving force behind many films and TV productions. Thus we see British citizens act as willing collaborators to the Nazi invaders, even up to the point of murdering Jews and the massacre of surrendering German soldiers. This is a constantly thought provoking and conscience testing picture produced by two very talented young film makers. On the technical side, picture quality is superb - slightly grainy but far better than you would expect given the independent nature of the production. The DVD does not contain any special features. I imagine that the DVD's producers thought that the limited appeal of this film did not merit the additional costs involved. Still, this is definitely worth a look for anyone interested in gritty British movies from the 1960's."
Not just for World War Two buffs
Frank Clover | Columbus, OH United States | 06/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had read about It Happened Here for years before I had a chance to see it and assumed it was created by and for teenaged nerds who make detailed models of Tiger tanks and Stukas. However, what impressed me the most about this film was its adult, complex plot. I would not have expected two young film and military history geeks to choose as their main character a woman faced with making moral compromises to survive in a Nazi- occupied England. The fanatical devotion to period accuracy that Brownlow and Mollo display only serves to enhance the film's depiction of the brutality of life under the Nazis."
A First Class Indy Look At A Historical "What-if"
nikitaxb | 12/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Considering the problems with getting their independently produced film onto the screen, Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo have succeeded brilliantly. The film follows the story of an average citizen living under Nazi German occupation, in this case what England would have been had the Germans invaded in 1940. With Mollo's historical expertise this is carried out convincingly,especially with the inclusion of foreigners collaborating with the Germans (yes, that did occur in occupied Europe). Technically Mollo succeeds where other less precise film-makers (some with unlimited budgets) fail miserably; the vehicles, weapons, uniforms are what you would see in 1944-1945 Europe. Despite the amateur nature of some of the actors with spoken (and unspoken) lines, the film nevertheless is enjoyable. The "documentary" like cinamatography adds to the illusion. Brownlow and Mollo put together a credible story line, one that enlightens and entertains. If you are interested in seeing, or learning about, life under German occupation during the Second World War, especially that of Western Europe, you will enjoy viewing this classic."
The purest are the most corruptible
isala | Fairbanks, Alaska,, US | 03/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film at the National Film Theatre in London, UK, in 1997. Some people were so offended that they left the cinema. It starst with the words: "The conquest of England was swift and brutal. Due to pressure from the eastern from German troops are removed from England, and the garrisoning of England is largely carried out by British volounteers..." From there on the film gets more provocative.
Low budget, only one professional actor, but the message is hammered home relentlessly: We cannot blame the Germans only for the crimes of the Nazis. Given half a chance we will happily commit them oursleves."