Hillsdale College students will have the opportunity to attend an early screening of the new film “Darkest Hour,” starring Gary Oldman and directed by Joe Wright on Dec. 15.
In the film, Oldman plays Winston Churchill. It follows his early days as prime minister, including the fall of France and Churchill’s decision to continue the fight against Nazi Germany.
“It’s a film that captures the essence of Winston Churchill and the way he led his countrymen through their darkest hour and into their finest,” said Soren Geiger, a research assistant in the president’s office. “People, I think, are drawn to these types of films, because they want to see what greatness looks like when up against the worst of perils — the invasion and devastation of one’s homeland.”
The screening will be followed on Dec. 16 at 11a.m. by a panel featuring College President and Churchill scholar Larry Arnn, the film’s producer Douglas Urbanski, and Gary Oldman.
“World War II is the greatest of the wars, and war is a characteristic human phenomenon. It reveals things can be seen nowhere else,” Arnn said. “The most important thing, in my opinion, is for people to understand that great turning points of history do not have inevitable outcomes.”
Since 2012, Arnn has directed the Churchill Project at Hillsdale College, which continues the work started by the late Sir Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s official biographer.
“My favorite thing about the manner or way of the film is that it shows Churchill in action, able to move and think quickly, much afflicted and yet keeping and using his wits,” Arnn said. “Too often he is played as a lumbering growler.”
Tickets to both the screening of “Darkest Hour” and the panel are free and open to faculty, staff, and students, Geiger said, but reservations are required. Those interested in attending should email Geiger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“One can see in ‘Darkest Hour’ that if you change this thing or that, everything would have been different,” Arnn said. “Hitler’s progress was arrested by human beings who made choices, who suffered, who fought bravely and narrowly prevailed.”