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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 February 2018
Darkest Hour: not the usual flattery of brutal Tory Churchill
Gary Oldman as Churchill in Darkest Hour (Click to enlarge)
Watching Gary Oldman as Churchill in 'Darkest Hour' at the Tyneside Cinema, I felt quite emotional. I was angry - if it was left to the Tories in 1940 they would have surrendered to Hitler.
The truth is that it was the working class and poor of each side that did the fighting, including the oppressed peoples of the soon-to-be-former British Empire. In numerical terms, nothing even comes close to the indescribable sacrifices of millions upon millions of Soviet workers.
What part did Churchill, one of the most brutal anti-working class Tories, play in this?
It is clear in Joe Wright's film that Churchill wavers, considering a peace deal with Hitler, and the real heroes were the working class characters: the stenographer, the passengers on the London Underground who Churchill had ignored for most of his political career.
Churchill thought these people were fighting for Empire. But they weren't - they were fighting for a better world where ordinary people could live with dignity, a welfare state and decent living conditions - not a return to Churchill's throwback vision of empire, and the hunger, poverty and lockouts of the 1920s and '30s.
It falls to Gary Oldman, one of the most brilliant working class actors of his generation, to portray Churchill. Beneath Oldman's fantastically crafted piggy Churchill makeup, by the amazing artist Kazuhiro Tsuji, you could still see some of the punk anger of 'Sid and Nancy' and his early films. Robert effing Hardy it ain't.
I was heartened that Darkest Hour was at least not the usual flattering biopic of Churchill. It goes some way to show it was working class pressure that influenced the decision to fight on in 1940 - and just how close the spineless British ruling class was to following its European counterparts in capitulating to fascism.
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In The Socialist 7 February 2018:
Save our NHS
NHS - build the fightback
NHS day of action: all around the country
Tragic death exposes criminal understaffing of NHS
York socialists head resistance to NHS outsourcing
Trump v NHS
Capita in crisis: bring all outsourcers back in-house
90 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes
What we think
Corbyn's left must seize the advantage in Labour's civil war
Haringey: now's our chance for a no-cuts council
Walthamstow: occupy to save the town square
Scene set for TUSC conference electoral debate
Royal Mail forced back under threat of action
Unison national women's conference
Striking back against academies in Newham
International socialist news and analysis
May's silence is a green light for Chinese repression
Sudan: Mohamed Satti released - global solidarity campaign gets results!
Protesters denounce oppressive Sri Lankan regime
GCSE grading game stresses out students - even more than before!
Fighting sexism: Positive discrimination - yea or neigh?
Bernie's book shows need for workers' party
Darkest Hour: Not the usual flattery of brutal Tory Churchill
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Socialist Party reports and campaigns
The Socialist Party is being evicted - we need you!
Yorkshire Socialist Party regional conference
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