HISTORY WITH THE HERO AND VILLAIN OFFSTAGE. We went to the IMAX theater last summer to watch “Dunkirk”, a major summer movie about the rescue of the thousands of soldiers pinned down and vulnerable to German soldiers. It was a vivid portrayal of what it was like to be among the soldiers trapped near Dunkirk.

I couldn’t help comparing it to other large-scale summer movies in which heroes and superheroes fight evil forces which threaten all of mankind. Here was the closest we have come to evil triumphing. I am persuaded that, without Churchill, Hitler would have ruled all of Europe. Dunkirk was a very good movie, but I was aware throughout of the irony that the evil leader was offstage and that a critical battle was being fought in London. And the superhero, Churchill, was in London and remained offstage.

Now a movie about that superhero is opening, as described in this review by David Sims in the Atlantic (November 27) of “Darkest Hour”, starring Gary Oldman as Churchill.

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