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    Wind Rush

    Posted by Mike Finnegan on

    Debuting theatrically in North America 28 years ago today, When the Wind Blows (1986) was not the first movie of the decade to deal with regular folk facing nuclear annihilation from a U.S.-Soviet armed conflict. The theatrical feature Testament, set in Northern California, and the telefilm The Day After, focused on small-town Kansans, arrived within a few weeks of each other in November 1983. Director Mick Jackson’s Threads (1984), set in Sheffield, England, presented a hard-hitting look at the short- and long-term effects of a nuclear blast to BBC viewers the following fall. However, since it was based on a very singular, very dark and very unsentimental 1982 graphic novel by Raymond Briggs and told its story through a fascinating collage of animation and news footage, When the Wind Blows may be the most touchingly effective. The elderly retired couple at the film’s center, Jim and Hilda Bloggs, who experience the fallout from a nearby atomic detonation with a naïve stiff-upper-lip pluck, are so well voiced by Sir John Mills and Dame Peggy Ashcroft (both Oscar® winners for David Lean movies) that the characters’ diminishing plight has unexpected heft. Their very Britishness in the face of Armageddon is a source of humor, but it’s bittersweet. As Chris Peachment notes in the Time Out Film Guide, ”Happily prattling about their World War II adventures in the blitz, they duly follow the government brochure advice and build a shelter with doors and cushions, then go about their business as their hair falls out and the dust rains down. The animation is at its best – and the film most effective – during sequences of their reminiscences, when the daily round of their past lives is seen as a delight in the ordinary and in a history which is not just forgotten but literally obliterated. But their slow degradation is almost unbearably moving. The only note of hope is that it might just get through to some people who have a say in such matters. Jim and Hilda are worth preserving.” Directed by legendary animator Jimmy Murakami with a score by Roger Waters and a title song by David Bowie and Erdal Kizilcay, When the Wind Blows is just as devastatingly powerful and still relevant in today’s confrontational world on Twilight Time’s well armed hi-def Blu-ray.