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1940s House

4.9 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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(Aug 05, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

One modern family takes on the challenge of domestic life on Britain's home front in this recreation of a World War II household. This time-travel experiment covers the period from the outbreak of the war in 1939 to Victory Day in 1945, compressing the events of six wartime years into nine weeks. While the military threat is metaphorical, the privations are real and the pressure creates tensions nonexistent in modern society.

From the Back Cover

One modern family takes on the challenge of domestic life on Britain's home front in this recreation of a World War II household. This time-travel experiment covers the period from the outbreak of the war in 1939 to Victory Day in 1945, compressing the events of six wartime years into nine weeks. While the military threat is metaphorical, the privations are real and the pressure creates tensions nonexistent in modern society. The program inevitable becomes a critique of modern materialism and complacency. END

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Geoffrey Palmer, Piers Brendon, Guy de la Bédoyère, Ben Hymers, Kirstie Hymers
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2003
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AYL47
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,285 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "1940s House" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The 1940's House is one in a series of PBS projects which place modern families in historical settings in order to study social and economical pressures - along with of course, a study in technological differences. What makes 1940's house particularly unique is that the family isn't just experiencing the household appliances or work ethic or social strata of the day, but are placing themselves in the hands of scientists are particulary interested in wartime Brittain. Brittain was one of the most controlled countries in the world during wartime, but it helped them survive. In this series, the family is subjected to wartime rations, Brittish law (blackout demands and so forth), Bomb raids, and are plunged into the type of hectic schedule the average citizen was expected to keep in order to make sure everyone did their part. The family is made up of a young mother and her two young boys and her parents. Midway, as in many households of the day, the father is sent away for wartime employment and the women are left alone to survive.
My husband and I have been watching the house shows (Manor House, Frontier House, etc.) in historical chronological order. This is obviously the last that we watched, and though this is an extremely hard thing for me to say since they're all so interesting, it is the best. I'm sure some will disagree. However, the major difference we have seen that has endeared this particular series to our hearts is the startling difference in attitude of the family involved.
Sure, the family becomes cranky and upset from time to time (mostly because of hunger and a shortage of cigarettes) but their mindset from the beginning is clear - we here to reenact war.
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Having seen Frontier House, Regency House, Colonial House and Manor House, I have to say that 1940's House boldly outshines them in one particular aspect. The family selected was earnest in their attempts to live the way a family of war time Brits would have.

While the concept of the House series is fascinating I've often been disappointed in the people chosen to participate in the various programs. It's almost as if they deliberately choose people that they know will complain, cheat and fail as opposed to someone who would be deeply committed to making it work. I was not disappointed in the Hymers. This family was fascinating to watch as their relationships altered from their year 2000 existence to that of the early 1940's . Daughter Kristie finds previously unknown strength and self-confidence, Mom Lyn discovers an even deeper respect for her parent's generation and what they endured, the boys Ben and Thomas draw closer to each other as they live a simpler if more challenging lifestyle. They were not perfect and understandably they complained occasionally but, overall, they persevered with great humor and love.

This was a very endearing look at the way an incredible generation endured hardship. It will warm your heart.
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I love this DVD. I think I've watched it about a half dozen times and find myself now addicted to that era. I had no idea the hardships that people went through. My mother would tell me about rationing here in the US but it was nothing like waht these people went through. The Hymers did a good job of showing the shock and ability to adapt as one after another hardship was thrown at them. This really is very much a show of how politics and issues outside the home unit affect people. Things were happening the Hymers had no control over, they just had to deal with the reduction in food and air raids, etc... I know it wasn't exactly like what people really went through but it sure opened my eyes! I tried to live on the rations allowed for each person for a week. Some of it was easy because I don't do heavy phyiscal activity so I didn't need as much of the fats. However...the tiny bit of cheese and meat did turn into a challenge. And I confess to sneaking more than one Diet Pepsi during my week of denial. The 1940s and all that went along with it and the war are fading in people's memory. The 'Greatest Generation" is passing. Hopefully shows like this will remind us a little of what forced people to rise to the challenge.
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Format: DVD
This is an excellent program. Unlike Colonial House and some of the other series the family here took their assignment seriously and ended up inspired by their predecessors sacrifices. They literally changed their lives. The children didn't fight over video games even after they went home. There are moments when various members of the family have realizations about that Great Generation that will bring tears to your eyes. The oldest boy (age 8) visits a war memorial and notices that some of the soldiers who died were only 10 years older than him. There is no truer monument to that sacrifice than the lives of the free peoples in the world today.
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If the phrase "reality tv" brings forth an image of mind-numbing swill, "The 1940s House" is proof that it doesn't have to be that way. This series is nothing less than an expertly crafted jewel.

Like most people, I tend to have a far easier time picturing events that happened during my lifetime as real than those that came before so, while WWII was very much a part of the lives of my parents and granparents, to me it's always been grainy footage of a distant past. Thanks to this series, I now have a much more vivid picture of the experiences of the homefront during a time when nothing less than the survival of western civilization was at stake. Watching this very likeable, brave, and often funny family deal with the trials and tribulations of life in London during the war has given me a whole new perspective and I give this DVD my highest possible recommendation.
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