22 January 2014 | rmax304823
Behind Closed Doors.
This docudrama covers the period from Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939 to the end of the war in Europe in Spring, 1945, and concerns the interactions -- both personal and political -- of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Josef Stalin.
Kids, this war was called "World War Two". The reason it's called "World War Two" is that it came after "World War One." Churchill was the Prime Minister of Great Britain. He was short, fat, bald, and smoked cigars. He was a good guy though, even though he smoked. Stalin smoked a pipe and combed his hair straight back and had a vicious mustache. But he always smiled, even when he was murdering friends. He was a "communist" but was on our side at the time. Franklin D. Roosevelt was one of the presidents of the United States. He smoked too -- cigarettes in a holder. He would never be elected a president today because he smoked. He couldn't walk either. They'd tear him apart in the press; he wouldn't have a prayer. The moral to this is that if somebody offers you a cigarette, don't take it, unless it has no label and is wrapped at both ends. Then it's okay. Thank you for your attention.
The miniseries is necessarily sketchy but not hard to follow. Most of the dialog must have been taken from formal speeches or personal memoirs because that's exactly what it sounds like. The director uses a split screen to suggest some of the communications between the three leaders. And while some of the meetings are skipped (Quebec, Casablanca) others are covered in more detail (Teheran, Yalta). At the meetings, everyone sits around a table and speaks very diplomatically, sometimes making small jokes that break the tension. It could be shown in a class on communications. "We agree with you, though we are of course concerned about the Baltics" means, "Keep your Commie nose out of Yugoslavia." It quickly becomes clear that, although Churchill and Stalin are both fighting a common enemy, neither trusts the other. Roosevelt is in the middle, always the worried optimist.
Considering the limitations both of the material and the medium, you have to give this an extra point or two. It's not only a lesson in geopolitics but it gives us a glimpse into the personalities of the three eponymous lions, and each has a chance to present his point of view. Stalin was a terrible thug, of course, but that has nothing to do with the subject matter dealt with here.