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Trivia for Darkest Hour

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  • Third collaboration between Gary Oldman and Sir John Hurt. They previously appeared in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011).
  • Gary Oldman is the sixth actor from the "Harry Potter" film franchise to portray Winston Churchill after Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore) in Churchill's Secret (2016), Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew) in The King's Speech (2010), Brendan Gleeson (Mad Eye Moody) in Into the Storm (2009), David Ryall (Elphias Doge) in Bertie and Elizabeth (2002), Two Men Went to War (2002) and De Gaulle (2006), and Robert Hardy (Cornelius Fudge) several times, beginning with Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (1981) and including War and Remembrance (1988) and Bomber Harris (1989).
  • This was a passion project for screenwriter Anthony McCarten.
  • Final film of Sir John Hurt.
  • John Hurt's final film. The film will also be dedicated in his memory.
  • Second role that Gary Oldman has shared with his "Harry Potter" castmate Timothy Spall. They have both played Rosencrantz, in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990) and Hamlet (1996), respectively. Coincidentally, Timothy Spall also played Churchill - in The King's Speech (2010).
  • By a sad irony, John Hurt was ill with cancer when he was set to portray Neville Chamberlain, Britain's ousted Prime Minister who was dying of cancer in 1940. However, in an interview Gary Oldman said that because Hurt was so ill, he never made it to a reading and never got to film a scene. The movie was still dedicated to Hurt, as it would have been his final cinematic project.
  • This was the second British film about Winston Churchill in 2017, with the first being Churchill (2017) starring Brian Cox. However, Darkest Hour completely overshadowed the other film in terms of box office success, critical acclaim and awards nominations.
  • Sir John Hurt was originally cast as Neville Chamberlain, but had to withdraw due to health issues (he died during filming). The role was then given to Ronald Pickup.
  • Ronald Pickup, who played Neville Chamberlain, previously played Winston Churchill's father, Lord Randolph Churchill, in Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (1974).
  • The entire movie takes place over a single month starting in May 1940, the first days of Churchill's wartime tenure as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  • Gary Oldman spent over 200 hours in makeup undergoing a radical transformation that necessitated "fattening" his body with prosthetics weighing half his own weight.
  • Director Joe Wright, who is British but has a deep affection for the United States and spends a lot of his time there, suggested that this film is directly relevant to the country's political turmoil under the leadership of maverick business billionaire Donald J. Trump and the concern this was causing for the rest of the world. He said, "There's a big question in America at the moment: what does good leadership look like? Churchill resisted when it mattered most, and as I travel around America I am really impressed and optimistic at the level of resistance happening in the U.S. at the moment. After George W. Bush was elected, it wasn't the same level; there was more apathy then. Now people are very vocal and that's really positive."
  • The film exaggerates the Labour Party's role in Winston Churchill becoming Prime Minister. Clement Attlee was prepared to serve in a coalition government led by Viscount Halifax in 1940. The film has also been accused by critics, including American writer Adam Gopnik and Adrian Smith, emeritus professor of modern history at the University of Southampton, of downplaying the importance of Attlee in the war cabinet. They pointed out that Attlee and his Labour colleagues were completely opposed to any peace deal with Adolf Hitler in 1940 and their support for Winston Churchill's position on this was vital against Viscount Halifax.
  • The movie's end titles neglected to mention that while Churchill lost the 1945 election, he later won the 1951 General Election. The Labour Party won the popular vote in 1951, although the collapse of the Liberals enabled the Conservative Party to win the most seats. In 1951 Labour won the most votes that the party has ever won and won the most votes of any political party in any election in British political history, a record not surpassed until the Conservative Party's victory in 1992 (by which time there was a much larger population and far more people had been allowed to vote since the voting age had been reduced from 21 years to 18 years in 1969).
  • The film takes place in May of 1940. In real life, Elizabeth Layton did not become Churchill's secretary until 1941.
  • Extensive makeup was used to transform Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill, but to call this "aging" makeup would not be entirely accurate. In May 1940, Churchill was 65 years and six months old. Oldman turned 59 during filming.
  • In an interview on The Graham Norton Show (2007), Gary Oldman said he smoked more than 400 cigars, roughly £50 each (more than $20,000 USD). At the end of filming, he had nicotine poisoning and spent a holiday getting a colonoscopy.
  • Near the end of the film, Halifax is depicted as saying that Winston Churchill "mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." Although having Halifax utter the phrase can be excused on grounds of "dramatic license," the quote actually originates with American news reporter Edward R. Murrow, who used it in 1954. It was used again by American President John F. Kennedy in 1963, on the occasion of Churchill being given honorary U.S. citizenship.
  • While on The Graham Norton Show (2007), Oldman stated that he went through approximately $30,000 in cigars while filming. At the end of filming, he had nicotine poisoning and spent a holiday getting a colonoscopy.
  • During his "Best Performance by an Actor" acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards ceremonies, Gary Oldman thanked his wife Gisele for putting up with his "crazy for over a year," further adding that she would tell her friends, "I go to bed with Winston Churchill, but I wake up with Gary Oldman."
  • Although he studied Churchill closely to get his performance right, Gary Oldman told the BBC in an interview that he felt playing Churchill had to be more of a creation than an impersonation. He also tried not to be influenced by previous acclaimed screen versions of him, citing in particular those by Albert Finney and Robert Hardy.
  • This is prolific actor Benjamin Whitrow's final screen credit. He died in September 2017 before the film's general release.
  • At one point in the film, Winston Churchill goes rampaging about the house looking for a book, asking, "Where's Cicero?" who was the great orator of ancient Rome. Soon after he calls for Admiral Ramsay, played by David Bamber. Bamber played Cicero in the BBC-HBO series Rome (2005).
  • The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2017, and also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.
  • Gary Oldman's work in this film earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama, the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. At the 71st British Academy Film Awards, the film received nine nominations, including Best Film and Best British Film, Best Actor in a Leading Role (for Oldman), and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (for Kristin Scott Thomas).
  • -For his role as Churchill, Oldman spent over 200 hours having make-up applied, and smoked over 400 cigars (worth about $20,000) during filming.
  • -John Hurt was initially cast as British prime minister Neville Chamberlain. However, according to Oldman, Hurt was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer and was unable to attend the read-throughs. Ronald Pickup assumed the role of Chamberlain instead, and Hurt died from cancer in January 2017.
  • Although Winston Churchill is usually celebrated as a British icon and a national hero, he is also a controversial figure on the British Left and the film's release led to many people posting articles on social media feeling that it offered a fictional and romanticized version of him. They pointed out issues such as Churchill's support for the usage of tear gas and poison gas, his use of chemical weapons on villages in Russia, his support for eugenics such as the forced sterilization of the mentally ill, his role in the sinking of RMS Lusitania and the Bengal Famine of 1943. For example, the popular left-wing actor and Labour supporter Ian Reddington even re-tweeted an article which described Churchill as "a vile racist, fanatical about violence and fiercely supportive of imperialism," while historian Louise Raw wrote an article for The Independent urging people not to forget "his problematic past." Other areas of contention left-wingers and liberals have against Churchill include his opposition to votes for women before World War I (he was famously quoted "the women's suffrage movement is only the small edge of the wedge, if we allow women to vote it will mean the loss of social structure and the rise of every liberal cause under the sun... women are well represented by their fathers, brothers, and husbands"), sending the Black and Tans to Ireland, his support for concentration camps in colonial Africa and his 1950s government's stepping-up of prosecutions against gay men, which of course included Alan Turing, who was famously celebrated in the film The Imitation Game (2014) and posthumously pardoned. After Oldman said at the Academy Awards "I would just like to salute Sir Winston Churchill," Shree Paradkar wrote for the Toronto Star online that the actor "might as well have danced on three million dead bodies" and questioned when there would be "a film on Winston Churchill, the barbaric monster with the blood of millions on his hands."
  • Winston Churchill often disappeared from Downing Street or the Cabinet War Rooms and appeared somewhere in London, where he would talk to the public and find out what they were thinking. However, there is no record of him ever doing this on an underground train.
  • The producers had tried to locate a genuine pre-WWII Tube train to film the Underground scene. However, none could be obtained. Instead, 1959 Tube Stock carriage, which was very similar in style to 1938 stock, was hired from the Mangapps Railway Museum and cosmetically restored to resemble a wartime train.
  • According to Gary Oldman, 26 members of Churchill's family attended the London premiere of the film, 17 of whom had earlier visited the set.
  • Ben Mendelsohn and Gary Oldman previously starred in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
  • Early in the film Churchill calls for his volume of Cicero - the great orator of ancient Rome. Soon after he calls for Admiral Ramsey played by David Bamber. David Bamber played Cicero in the BBC-HBO series "Rome".
  • According to Gary Oldman, director Joe Wright opted for a generous four weeks of rehearsal.
  • French visa # 14784.
  • Gary Oldman spent a year studying Winston Churchill and his mannerisms before starting on the film.
  • In his final interview before his death in August 2017, which was published by the Daily Mail online, Robert Hardy, who earned widespread acclaim and a BAFTA nomination for his performance in Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (1981), predicted that Oldman's portrayal would be one of the finest. He was quoted: "From everything I've seen and heard, Oldman's portrayal of Churchill is far more convincing than some other recent portrayals. He certainly looks the part, he's undergone a remarkable transformation. But it's not just his appearance - he's managed to catch the essence of the man." Hardy said it was dangerous for an actor to simply rely on Churchill's famous props such as his cigar: "It's important to get the little details right. It's not just the look, but stance, style and speech, too."
  • On 15 January 1965, Churchill suffered a severe stroke and died at his London home nine days later, aged 90, on the morning of Sunday, 24 January 1965, 70 years to the day after his own father's death.
  • The British historical characters were almost without exception played by British actors. However, the Australian Ben Mendelsohn was cast, in addition to his several acclaimed prior roles, because he has a close physical resemblance to the real King George VI, more so than Colin Firth and Jared Harris, two actors who had recently played him, and he is capable of a seamless British accent.
  • In the scene in the London Underground carriage, the verse which Churchill quotes to the girl is taken from Thomas Macauley's Lays Of Ancient Rome: "Then out spake Horatius, The Captain of the Gate: To every man upon this earth Death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods."
  • The cigar bill for the shooting of Darkest Hour was 30,000 USD
  • This is one of two films nominated for the 2018 Oscars featuring Operation Dynamo, the other being Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk
  • The film deals with the political background around the evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk in mid-1940. This operation was also the subject of Dunkirk (2017). Both films were Best Picture nominees for the 2018 Academy Awards.
  • Gary Oldman revealed on The Graham Norton Show (2007) that he smoked ?30,000 worth of cigars on set (about 12 cigars a day) while in character as Churchill, developed nicotine poisoning and had a colonoscopy during the Christmas filming break.
  • Winston Churchill jokingly says that Edward Halifax is the fourth son of an earl, and that fourth sons do not turn anything down. In fact, Halifax's father was merely a viscount; it was Edward Halifax himself who later became the first Earl of Halifax, and his three older brothers had all passed away by the time Halifax was nine years old, thereby making him his father's heir from a very early stage.
  • Set during a sweltering hot spring in 1940 England, the film was actually shot during winter. For that reason, exterior shots were kept to a minimum and the interior scenes emphasize simulated sunlight through the windows to suggest the oppressive heat.
  • This was the third film to be theatrically released in 2017 that dealt with Operation "Dynamo," the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk, France, between May and June 1940. The first was "Their Finest (2016)" and the second was "Dunkirk (2017)." Oddly enough, while "Their Finest," "Dunkirk," and "Darkest Hour" were released theatrically in that order, the events depicted in "Their Finest" took place after the events depicted in Darkest Hour, and some of the events depicted in Darkest Hour took place before Dunkirk. The three films could also be said to each show a different aspect of the operation. "Their Finest" was an insight into the cultural, social, and political impact of the evacuation on Britain and the war effort. "Dunkirk" portrayed the evacuation itself from the eyes of a British soldier, pilot, and civilian sailor involved in the operation, while, lastly, "Darkest Hour" showed Winston Churchill's role during the evacuation and in the "behind-the-scenes" political maneuvering surrounding the early period of the war.
  • Winston Churchill's "We will fight on the beaches" speech in 1940 was not recorded, as the House of Commons was not fitted with recording equipment then. Churchill recorded all his major wartime speeches at his home four years after the war.
  • Ivana Primorac and her team won the BAFTA for Best Makeup on Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in this film. Coincidentally, she had earlier overseen John Lithgow's spectacular facial transformation for his role as Churchill in the acclaimed TV series The Crown (2016).
  • Churchill's popularity with the British public during the Second World War is often exaggerated and opinion polls suggested that he would actually have lost an election at any stage during the war.
  • Tells the same story as the 8-part miniseries Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (1981), which starred Robert Hardy as Churchill.
  • The film was the only Best Picture Oscar nominee of the year to also be nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
  • Objecting to the way in which Churchill was portrayed in this film, a group of anti-racist protesters demonstrated at the Churchill-themed "Blighty Cafe" in London in late January 2018. Ironically, this protest and the media coverage led to the previously obscure caf? becoming far more popular.
  • In the scene on the "Tube" (London Underground) where Churchill meets several everyday Londoners, one man introduces himself as a bricklayer. Famously, Churchill was himself an amateur bricklayer.
  • Gary Oldman"s performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour would be the 22nd time the Best Actor Academy Award has been won for playing a real-life character. In his review of the film, critic Brian Tallerico even suggested that the film was made purely to get Oldman, one of Britain's most acclaimed actors for 30 years, a long overdue Oscar.
  • The role of Winston Churchill was played earlier that year by Brian Cox, making Gary Oldman the second actor to win an Oscar for taking over a role from Cox. Cox had previously played Hannibal Lecter (spelled Lecktor) in Manhunter (1986), a role for which Anthony Hopkins won the Oscar in The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Hopkins and Oldman appeared together in the sequel, Hannibal (2001).
  • The Royal Air Force began bombing cities in Germany on the 10 May 1940, the same day Churchill replaced Chamberlain. The first raid took place against Dortmund, while Mönchengladbach was bombed on the following day.
  • In May 1940 Churchill refused to reappoint Leslie Hore-Belisha, who had been fired following the Pillbox affair. Anti-Semitism in the UK was so severe at the time that the Jewish Hore-Belisha could not be appointed as Minister of Information. Two years after the war there were massive anti-Semitic riots throughout the UK in August 1947.
  • In 1940, Halifax favored approaching Italy to see if acceptable peace terms were on offer, as it would been a chance to extract the British Expeditionary Force from France and in his view better terms might have been obtained with France still in the war than after her defeat. Churchill appears to been deluding himself about the likelihood of France fighting on and about the imminence of US entry. In drumming up the support of the Labour ministers, Churchill asserted that peace would mean "surrender" and handing over the Royal Navy, a view which has passed so deep into popular mythology that most historians just skate quickly over the matter, as it is almost impossible to have a rational discussion about it. It is impossible to say what armistice terms might have been on offer.
  • The decision to continue the war in 1940, which is depicted in Darkest Hour, was arguably disastrous for the UK's long-term interests. Quite apart from the immense loss of military and civilian lives in the following years, the British Empire was also destroyed, while Hitler had wanted to preserve it as a counterbalance to the Soviet Union. The UK was bankrupted by the economic cost of the war and became a satellite of the United States, as the Suez Crisis showed in 1956.
  • Darkest Hour is the third portrayal of a British Prime Minister to earn the lead actor an Academy Award, following George Arliss's win for Disraeli (1929) and Meryl Streep's win six years earlier for her role as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011).
  • As First Lord of the Admiralty Churchill was responsible for passenger liners like RMS Lusitania carrying war munitions in both world wars.
  • Churchill was an extreme opponent of increased self-government for British India in the early 1930s. A major reason why people in the UK would not support Churchill on rearmament in the late 1930s was because he had used the exact same language about Gandhi that he used about Hitler.
  • Winston Churchill publicly defended the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 in a BBC radio broadcast.
  • In March 2018, the black British historian David Olusoga, known for his presenting work on the BBC, added his voice to criticism of Winston Churchill following his renewed profile in Darkest Hour, blaming him for war crimes in Africa and the Bengal Famine. Referring to Churchill's heroic portrayal in the film, Olusoga said: "Certain people, we only want to hear the good things that they do. Certain events, we only want to hear the stories that we're familiar with. And other people want to tell different stories, so we have this conflict. I think these are the history wars we are having." He also said: "So while I'm personally glad that Churchill overcame Halifax in early 1940 and it was Churchill who faced the Nazis that year and the years that followed, that doesn't mean that he wasn't somebody that was responsible, or largely responsible, for the Bengal famine of 1943-44. It doesn't mean that he wasn't someone who took part in things we would consider war crimes in Africa. It doesn't mean that his views, the things he espoused, weren't shocking to members of his Cabinet, never mind to people at the time. We're going to have to accommodate the fact that these things are true, and there are two sides to these stories and we're not good at it."
  • Winston Churchill's support for eugenics, including the confinement, segregation and forced sterilization of the mentally ill, has caused considerable controversy in view of the Nazi eugenics advocated by Adolf Hitler. During a House of Commons debate, Churchill said: "I propose that 100,000 degenerate Britons should be forcibly sterilized and others put in labour camps to halt the decline of the British race." In a memo to the Prime Minister in December 1910, Churchill cautioned: "The unnatural and increasingly rapid growth of the feeble-minded and insane classes, coupled as it is with a steady restriction among all the thrifty, energetic and superior stocks, constitutes a national and race danger which it is impossible to exaggerate." Also, while Hitler is roundly condemned for his use of concentration camps in Europe, it is less widely known that Churchill defended the use of concentration camps during the Second Boer War and used concentration camps in Kenya during the Mau Mau Uprising in the 1950s.
  • There was considerable opposition in the UK to forming a pact with Poland. It was widely felt that the UK was in no position to help the country, and a pact against a German invasion would only encourage a Soviet invasion. Poland had invaded Czechoslovakia on 1 October 1938 and annexed Zaolzie. Many people felt it would be better to allow a referendum on the Danzig Corridor.
  • Churchill had caused controversy by writing a newspaper article in 1920 which appeared to blame Jews for Communism. During the 1930s he publicly praised Hitler, Mussolini and Franco on several occasions. In 1937 Churchill told the House of Commons, "I will not pretend that, if I had to choose between Communism and Nazism, I would choose Communism." In that same year he wrote of Hitler, "One may dislike Hitler's system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as admirable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations."
  • Winston Churchill secretly offered to give Northern Ireland to Ireland if it entered the war, but Eamon de Valera refused as he was expecting Germany to win.
  • To this day, Churchill is widely regarded as a war criminal in India, where he was accused of carrying out genocide in 1943-44. Churchill reprimanded the Prime Minister of South Africa for not having Gandhi executed, and during the Bengal Famine of 1943 he complained that Gandhi had not starved to death along with an estimated three million Indians in one year. Churchill later said, "I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits."
  • In an interview to promote the film, Gary Oldman said that he considered Winston Churchill to be "arguably the greatest Briton who ever lived". Like Churchill, the right-wing political leader he portrays in the film, Oldman is known to have right-wing sympathies, having revealed in an interview in 2014 that he was a libertarian, hated political correctness and believed Hollywood to have a liberal political bias by denying conservatives a podium. Among his controversial statements, he claimed that people were considered to be racist if they didn't vote for the anti-slavery movie 12 Years a Slave (2013) at the Oscars. He was also forced to apologize after defending anti-Semitic comments by fellow actor Mel Gibson.
  • Churchill was often badly received in the East End of London by working class people, even though it was not publicly known at the time that the Blitz was in response to the RAF bombing German cities from May 1940.
  • In May 1940 the Soviet Union was supplying Nazi Germany with fuel, due to the German-Soviet Commercial Agreement. Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin wanted to punish the UK for its invasion of Russia in 1918. During the Russian Civil War Churchill had used chemical weapons on villages in northern Russia, causing immense civilian casualties.
  • Winston Churchill opposed mass immigration to Britain of black and Asian people from the British colonies following the end of the Second World War and favored using "Keep England White" as a Conservative Party campaign slogan in the 1950s. Three years after Churchill's death, Conservative M.P. Enoch Powell expressed similar racial views on immigration in a speech known as the "Rivers of Blood" and was immediately fired from the Shadow Cabinet.
  • Winston Churchill planned to use mustard gas and phosgene to help repel an Axis invasion in 1940-41, and had there been an invasion he intended to also deploy it against German cities. Churchill had used chemical weapons on Russian villages in 1919, causing immense civilian casualties. Churchill proclaimed: "If you got home only once with the gas you would find no more Bolshies this side of Vologda." The cabinet was hostile to the use of such weapons, much to Churchill's irritation. He also wanted to use M Devices against the rebellious tribes of northern India. "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes," he declared in one secret memorandum. He criticised his colleagues for their "squeamishness", declaring that "the objections of the India Office to the use of gas against natives are unreasonable. Gas is a more merciful weapon than [the] high explosive shell, and compels an enemy to accept a decision with less loss of life than any other agency of war." He ended his memo on a note of ill-placed black humour: "Why is it not fair for a British artilleryman to fire a shell which makes the said native sneeze?" he asked. "It is really too silly." It has been alleged that he also used chemical weapons in Mesopotamia in 1920, during the Iraqi revolt.
  • It is debatable whether Hitler really intended to invade the UK. By early July 1940 the German High Command was already planning the invasion of the Soviet Union, and on 19 July Hitler gave a speech offering to end the war against the British Commonwealth and Empire.
  • Winston Churchill tried to have documents destroyed which showed that the Nazis had plans to restore the Duke of Windsor to the throne if they defeated the UK. Churchill had strongly opposed his abdication as King Edward VIII in 1936. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were great admirers of the British aristocracy. Windsor had made a controversial visit to Germany in 1937, met Hitler, given Nazi salutes during his visit and inspected the SS.
  • Churchill controversially helped cover up the Katyn massacre by the Soviets in Poland in 1940, and later armed former Nazis in Greece.
  • Churchill later praised the Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco in the House of Commons for not joining the Axis in 1940. In reality Franco had been very keen to join the war and seize British-occupied Gibraltar, but knew his armed forces were unprepared for a major war and would struggle to defend Spanish Morocco and the Canary Islands. The Spanish Civil War had only ended in 1939, leaving the country bankrupted and its cities in ruins. Franco wrote to Adolf Hitler offering to join the war on 19 June 1940, but annoyed the Germans by demanding Cameroon which Admiral Erich Raeder wanted for his Plan Z (the re-equipment and expansion of the Kriegsmarine). Spain would have been entirely dependent on Germany for fuel, weapons and ammunition. By the end of 1940 Hitler had begun to believe that Vichy France was a more useful ally than Spain, particularly following the Battle of Dakar, and Franco began to have doubts over joining the war, although he continued to believe the Axis would win until late in the conflict. In May 2013 documents were released showing that Churchill authorized MI6 to spend the present-day equivalent of more than $200 million bribing senior Spanish military officers, ship owners and other agents to keep Spain from joining World War II after the Fall of France.
  • In addition to the possibility of Italy and Japan joining the war, in May 1940 it was also feared that Spain, Portugal, Greece and Turkey might join the Axis.
  • Churchill strongly supported the Treaty of Versailles, which severely punished Germany following the end of World War I, and he supported the French occupation of the Ruhr district of Germany in 1923. Many historians believe that these contributed to the eventual outbreak of World War II due to a feeling of injustice in Germany and the resultant growth in support for German nationalism, in particular the far-right National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party), which had become the largest elected party in the German "Reichstag" parliament by 1933, resulting in Hitler being made Chancellor of Germany.
  • The term "appeasement" is sometimes considered controversial, as Britain and France were occupying half the world by force in the 1930s. It has also been argued that appeasement did not fail - it was Chamberlain's decision to form a military pact with Poland that led to World War II.
  • In an article for The Guardian in 2018, the writer, broadcaster, barrister and human rights development worker Afua Hirsch described Darkest Hour as "propaganda" for Winston Churchill and "a great example of the kind of myth we like to promote in modern Britain", as it had "re-branded" Churchill as a "tube-travelling, minority-adoring genius, in line with a general understanding of him as 'the greatest Briton of all time'". In another article, she criticized the film for "perpetuating the idea that Winston Churchill stood alone, at the Darkest Hour, as Nazi fascism encroached, with Britain a small and vulnerable nation isolated in the north Atlantic. In reality the United Kingdom was at that moment an imperial power with the collective might of Indian, African, Canadian and Australian manpower, resources and wealth at its disposal."
  • Adrian Smith, emeritus professor of modern history at the University of Southampton, described the film as "deeply flawed" in terms of its historical accuracy. The BBC's film critic Mark Kermode also gave it a negative review for Film 24 (2007), while acknowledging that it had "a very good cast" and Oldman's performance was worthy of an award.

Spoilers

  • During the scene when Winston Churchill is talking on the phone with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Roosevelt tells him that the United States cannot deliver planes that the United Kingdom has already paid for because of the arms embargo due to the Neutrality Act. Instead, he suggests that the planes be flown to just a mile south of the Canadian border and pulled by horse into Canada for "legal" delivery. One of the main themes of the movie A Yank in the R.A.F. (1941) is a flier who "gets into trouble by flying a new fighter directly to Canada instead of to New York and letting it be towed across as the law demands."
  • The scene where Winston Churchill travels on a London underground train and consults ordinary members of the public on whether to negotiate peace with Adolf Hitler was entirely fictional. It was added as the producers felt the film was (by obvious historical necessity) dominated by white, middle class male characters and lacked the wider diversity felt needed for a modern audience and also to suggest that Churchill was sometimes beset by doubts and uncertainty over his decisions. Many historians have criticized this interpretation, saying the historical evidence shows Churchill was always resolute in his opposition to making peace with Nazi Germany. However, Andrew Roberts has written that Churchill did consider ending the war on May 26, 1940. After Halifax suggested using the still-neutral Benito Mussolini to broker a negotiated end to the war, Churchill replied, "I would be grateful to get out of our present difficulties on such terms, provided we retained the essentials and the elements of our vital strength, even at the cost of some territory." He said that "if we could get out of this jam by giving up Malta and Gibraltar and some African colonies he would jump at it. But the only safe way was to convince Hitler that he couldn't beat us."
  • Taron Egerton can be seen playing a member of the general public on the platform before Churchill enters the tube, this is an uncredited cameo.
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