It Happened Here in January
Film First have announced the UK DVD release of Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo’s It Happened Here - exclusive to Moviemail from 31st October 2005 - and then on a general retail release from 23rd January 2006 priced at £12.99. This remarkable ‘what-if?’ film is set in Nazi-controlled England in wartime. Its rewrite of history is all the more effective for having the apppearance of absolute authenticity. Uniforms are genuine, the voices heard in newsreels are those of BBC wartime announcers and the background details of posters and newspapers were meticulously researched. Amazingly, not a second of stock footage was used. Brilliantly edited, it gives an authentic feel of how things might have been in occupied England had the Nazis invaded. At the heart of the film's central story of a district nurse trying to practise her profession is the dilemma that if you don't take sides in wartime, then you are seen to collaborate.
The film features the controversial sequence of genuine British fascists airing their beliefs, a sequence originally cut by the distributors.
It Happened Here was a true labour of love. Made for only £7,000, it was shot over a period of eight years with a cast of almost entirely amateur actors. It was also the debut film for a number of people who have made distinctive careers in the film industry. Kevin Brownlow is a leading film restorer and has made many acclaimed documentaries about stars of the silent era, Andrew Mollo has recently worked as a consultant on such films as The Pianist and Downfall. It was also the first film for cameraman Peter Suschitzky (The Empire Strikes Back, and more recently, David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence).
Special Features on the DVD are the original 15 minute cut of newsreel footage, the American Trailer, a Production Stills Gallery, a Gallery of photographs from occupied Paris that inspired the look of the film and an introduction by Kevin Brownlow.
It Happened Here will initially be exclusive to MovieMail and available from 31st October 2005, but will then go on general retail release from 23rd January 2006 priced at £12.99.