Focus Feature’s DARKEST HOUR Is A Must-See

Last week, I boarded the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach for Focus Feature’s new film DARKEST HOUR. I attended a panel discussion with the film’s talent, a tour of the Winston Churchill exhibit, and a special reception with a cigar bar and whiskey tasting. This sensational film is a MUST-SEE and can be seen in select theaters in Los Angeles and New York, and everywhere December 22nd…

Congratulations to the DARKEST HOUR team on their recent four Critics Choice nominations for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Gary Oldman), Best Score, and Best Hair and Makeup!

Thank you Focus Features for inviting me to screen DARKEST HOUR and attend the press conference. All opinions are my own.

Scott Mantz, Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn and Randolph Churchill  (Great Grandson of Winston Churchill)


During the early days of World War II, with the fall of France imminent, Britain faces its darkest hour as the threat of invasion looms.  As the seemingly unstoppable Nazi forces advance, and with the Allied army cornered on the beaches of Dunkirk, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the leadership of the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman).  While maneuvering his political rivals, he must confront the ultimate choice: negotiate with Hitler and save the British people at a terrible cost or rally the nation and fight on against incredible odds.  Directed by Joe Wright, DARKEST HOUR is the dramatic and inspiring story of four weeks in 1940 during which Churchill’s courage to lead changed the course of world history.

This remarkable documentary gives history buffs and movie goers a look at the historic timeline, where Churchill executed crucial decisions to guide the British army.


Gary Oldman’s onscreen performance was exceptional. It was to no surprise, when Randolph Churchill marveled about Oldman’s resemblance to his great grandfather at the press conference.

Randolph looked at Oldman and said, “And then suddenly through the door… I didn’t recognize Gary at all. It was my great grandfather!  I promise you our family was completely dumbstruck, and your whole appearance, the mannerisms, how you captured my great grandfather.”

In real life Winston Churchill mumbled, was unpredictable, scatty, and was a bit hostile. Oldman no doubt nailed this role, and who better to confirm this but Churchill’s own relatives.

I was drawn to the cinematography while screening this incredible film. The cameras moved flawlessly through the walls, and brought clear focus to this era. The contrast of natural light and silhouettes were used to highlight different pivotal moments in the film, and the camera zoomed in when Churchill (Oldman) tapped his ring and was in deep thought. The ring worn by Oldman was a replica of Winton’s actual ring.

The set design and costumes were beautifully created and were historically dead on. Oldman’s suits were tailored and were exact replicas of Churchill’s attire.  


At the reception, we smoked cigars and sampled whiskey in honor of Winston Churchill and the new film…. It was memorable, and I enjoyed it to the fullest!


The Queen Mary was the perfect venue for this celebration… The ocean breeze and harbor view was wonderful.


As you can see, Churchill loved good cigars and whiskey.


“Smoking Cigars is like falling in love. First, you are attracted by its shape; you stay for its flavor, and you must always remember never, never to let the flame go out!” ~ Winston Churchill


Cheers Sir Winston Churchill, may your legacy live on! Go see DARKEST HOUR in theaters with your entire family…


Visit he Queen Mary In Long Beach for the DARKEST HOUR Exhibit

The Queen Mary opened their latest exhibit, Their Finest Hours. This incredible exhibit will showcase several Churchill artifacts and letters along with set pieces from DARKEST HOUR, including the replicas of the War Rooms where Winston Churchill and the Allies plotted Hitler’s defeat. Learn why the Queen Mary was Churchill’s secret weapon and see where history was made!

Address: 1126 Queen Mary Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90802

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