Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines. However, mismanagement and poor planning result in its failure.
Historical reenactment of the air war in the early days of World War Two for control of the skies over Britain as the new Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force determine whether or not an invasion can take place.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Major Falke's (Manfred Reddemann's) adjutant, (elder man in white uniform), is seen carrying an Iron Cross and an older Flight Badge from World War I, indicating he was a pilot during that war. See more »
Harry Andrews' character is seen seated at his desk, wearing glasses, reading Dowding's letter to Churchill. As Dowding enters the room Andrews turns to speak to him and his glasses are now absent. The timing of the scene precludes him removing them as part of the action. See more »
[With the aid of an interpreter, Edwards has berated the Polish pilots for attacking German bombers against orders, before pulling a telegram out of his pocket]
Squadron Leader Edwards:
Finally, and God alone knows why, I've received the following signal:
Squadron Leader Edwards:
"Congratulations! As of today, this Squadron is operational." Signed, Air Vice Marshall Keith Park, AOC 11 Group
[the men start cheering, and Squadron Leader Edwards smirks, before the scene changes to Dowding's office]
Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding:
I was wrong about the Poles.
Air Vice Marshal Keith Park:
We also ...
[...] See more »
The DVD version is struck from a slightly different widescreen print than the VHS version (which is pan-and-scan except for the titles), as the distinctive main titles (created by Maurice Binder) have been greatly simplified and titled 'The Battle of Britain'. Sir William Walton is given credit for the music, though only 'Battle in the Air' and his 'Battle of Britain March' appear in the film; the rest of the soundtrack is composed by Ron Goodwin. See more »
This film was an attempt to deal with the crucial events of 1940, when Britain might have been invaded and oppressed by Nazi Germany. Had this succeeded then subsequent history might well have been very different, a Europe subjugated by the dark evil of that regime.
As a straight historical account this film fails rather badly. Most of the characters are artificial, created for the Stars and stars involved. Dowding and Park, historically absolutely crucial, never develop properly - a pity. Goering is cartoonised, but at least reflects his total failure to conduct a strategic assault on the UK.
The flying sequences are, mostly, superb. It was a huge achievement to bring together the aircraft used. As an enthusiast I can pick massive holes in those used. None of the 'German' aircraft have correct engines - they were post-war Spanish Air Force stand ins. And that's before we start on the late war mark Spitfires etc. But who cares? The point is the conflict in the air. It is not close enough to 'real' aerial combat - 10 seconds of terror in 60 mins of boredom. But that is the nature of the cinema medium.
The distraction of Suzanne York (BTW she's not trying to get divorced!) in full 40's u/wear was very exciting when I was 16. At 52 I suppose it still gives me the odd moment!
And look for the hanger being 'bombed' behind Suzanne York and Kenneth More, it really WAS blown up at Duxford - boy, were they cross!
The revisionist historians like to claim that the (actual) Battle of Britain was not that important. That the Germans couldn't have crossed the Channel anyway because of the Royal Navy (probably, but not necessarily so. With air supremacy JU87s would have massacred RN vessels). That the Germans already had eyes on Russia and really wanted to ignore GB as a sideline, possible and a fatal mistake. That the Germans lost the battle, rather than the RAF won it (no statistical basis for this, the Luftwaffe smashed itself against the RAF).
But the Battle WAS fought, and won by the RAF.
Which is why I believe this film is worth a viewing.
Especially the Walton scored sequence, where the Luftwaffe's bombers are hacked down by the Hurricanes and Spitfires of the RAF. An impressively moving sequence of the horror of war in the air. To which the music adds enormously.
I place this film well ahead of the 1990's Memphis Belle travesty in depicting the reality of war. It is certainly on a par with 12 O'Clock High.
78 of 95 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this