Monday, February 16, 2009
The Young Mr. Pitt (Carol Reed, 1942)
Robert Donat plays Pitt as a patriotic man of principle, hating war but recognizing the need to resist the French attempt to conquer the world, doing battle with the know-nothing anti-war opposition led by Charles James Fox (Robert Morley), and aided by loyal, good men of various sorts. Pitt gives up his private life and his health for the country. From the peril of the English people to the reluctance of government to face danger to the treacherous and greedy fulminations of a tyrant (Napoleon, played well but briefly by Herbert Lom)—this is really all a fable of the second world war. It’s an impressive work, fiction as much as history.