22 January 2018



'We give our all to Norway.'

Wow, this historical war drama was fiercely intense and compelling to watch. Based on true events, it had that exciting writing across the screen like in INDEPENDENCE DAY telling you what time of the day it was and where the action was taking place.

In fact, the events depicted in the film took place in Norway over three rather critical days in 1940. Yes, that's right, this is a World War Two film, so I was pretty much ecstatic watching it as I love the history of that period.

As the title suggests, THE KING'S CHOICE: BATTLE FOR NORWAY concerns the German campaign in Norway or, to call a spade a spade, the German invasion of Norway. I mean, let's be honest. When ze Germans came calling, it was usually with a view to staying a lot longer than your average house-guest, lol.

Anyway, let's see if I can condense the action into a few bite-sized, digestible nuggets of information like the good little amateur historian I am. Pay attention now while I pop on my specs and put up my hair and button up my cardie to give the impression of being learned, haha.

Okay, so Hitler sent his lads up to Norway ostensibly to 'protect' Norway and the Norwegians from a possible invasion of that country by the French and the English. Whether the threat of Franco-British invasion was real or not doesn't really matter, I feel.

What mattered at the time was that Hitler clearly wanted to add Norway to the ever-growing list of countries he wished to boss around. Using the excuse of this alleged possible invasion by France and England, he saw his chance and moved his lads in.

Remember, this was 1940 when the war was still going really well for Germany. Things didn't really start to go pear-shaped for Hitler till 1942/3 when Stalingrad happened. In fact, the planned take-over of Russia fell apart when a certain ally of Russia's, Old Man Winter to be precise, put on his furry hat and gloves and froze the living daylights out of the ill-prepared Germans. All over by Christmas, my arse...!

Anyway, Hitler did send an envoy of his, a career diplomat known as Curt Brauer, up to Norway to try to get the King of Norway to capitulate to Germany and to let a fella called Vidkun Quisling become the Prime Minister and also, incidentally, a puppet of the Germans'. The word 'quisling' actually later passed officially into the English language and became a word that denoted some sort of puppet government. Don't say that I never teach ye anything, lol.

Any-hoo, to Curt Brauer's admittedly well-phrased request, King Haakon the Seventh basically said bugger off, we're not interested in giving in to ye pushy Germans. We give our all to Norway, remember? It's no worse than or different from Deutschland Uber Alles as a slogan, heh-heh-heh. It's quite catchy even, in point of fact.

King Haakon, the Norwegian monarch since 1905, was popular with his people and he said he couldn't just give in to the Germans like that without the peoples' say-so. Brauer nearly had a fit. He kept his cool really well under pressure though, especially in view of the fact that Hitler himself phoned Brauer directly to check on the progress of OPERATION WESERÜBUNG, or the German take-over of Norway (and also Denmark, those pushy Germans tried to get in everywhere, the pesky little sly-boots!).

There was lots of back-and-forth, back-and-forth as a frantic Brauer tried to get the ageing King to see things his, or rather Hitler's, way. There'll be war otherwise, Brauer kept saying,
but the King was adamant. 

Not only would he not give in to the Germans who, even then, were over-running his frozen kingdom of ice and snow, but if his Cabinet decided against his wishes to accede to Germany's demands then he, the King, would abdicate. He'd take his ball and go home, in other words. Game over.

That went for his whole family too, his son and heir Olav the Fifth and Olav's wife and children, all of whom seemed to adore the King, their Grand-daddy and father-in-law. He seemed to have a really good relationship with all of them but especially with his little golden-haired cherub of a grandson, who carried around a battered, much-cherished Piglet from WINNIE THE POOH with him all the time and was almost unbearably cute.

King Haakon and his son, the Crown Prince Olav, had to leg it over to Blighty for the remainder of the war and the naughty Germans moved in and stayed in Norway, I do believe, until 1945 when they lost the war and had to bugger off home with tails very firmly between legs.

The King and his son supported the resistance movement from England and, when the war was over, they nipped back and took up their royal positions again. King Haakon ruled till 1957, a good fifty-two years on the throne overall and only a decade short of good Queen Vic's own record-busting reign. 

He'd have some way to go to catch up with Queen Lizzie of Blighty, though. Now there's a monarch who really does not want to relinquish the reins of power...! Charlie Boy will be a hundred years old by the time he toddles up those steps to the throne, that's if he ever does.

Highlights of this Norwegian-language film include the aforementioned phone call to Brauer from Hitler that nearly made Brauer jump out of his skin, and also King Haakon's taking a tearful leave of Olav- he thinks it's for the last time- to go and meet privately with Brauer.

They both thought that it might be a German trap but the brave old King was determined to meet his destiny, whatever that entailed. He tasked his handsome burly blonde son Olav with the job of succeeding his Pops on the throne. Stiff upper lips all round, as you can imagine when one monarch takes leave of another.

Some tender moments also when the King is fleeing Norway and spends a minute or two chatting out the window of a parked car to a young soldier boy whose job it is to protect his Monarch and his country, at whatever cost to himself. The King thanks little Guardsman Fredrik Seeberg for his loyalty and courage and he's not wrong there, as we observe when Seeberg later proves himself worthy of the King's praise.

The film is gorgeously-shot and the atmosphere as the Germans get ever closer to the Imperial Palace is tense and nail-biting. I love when Brauer strides through the deserted Palace shouting 'Hello? Is anybody there? Hello, it's me, Curt Brauer...!' They've all flown the nest, innit?

I love a good old World War Two film, and THE KING'S CHOICE: BATTLE FOR NORWAY is surely as superior an example as you'll see this year. It's out now on special DVD release from THUNDERBIRD RELEASING and I would recommend it to historians everywhere, or to anyone who just loves a good gripping political thriller. It's got everything. It's got snow, it's got Nazis and it's even got a phone call from Hitler. I'm happy, anyway...!


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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