Film review - Battle of Britain (1969)
Starring: Laurence Olivier, Trevor Howard, Patrick Wymark, Christopher Plummer, Michael Caine, Ralph Richardson, Robert Shaw, Susannah York, Ian McShane, Kenneth More, Edward Fox, Michael Redgrave, Harry Andrews, Curd Jürgens, Hein Riess, Manfred Reddemann, Wilfried von Aacken, Karl-Otto Alberty, Helmut Kircher, Alexander Allerson, Paul Neuhaus, Dietrich Frauboes, Malte Petzel, Alf Jungermann, Peter Hager, Wolf Harnisch, Rolf Stiefel
Directed by: Guy Hamilton
Review: Film review – The Battle of Britain (1969) – This war film tells the story of the battle of Britain fought during the Second World War between the fighter pilots of Allied forces and their German counter parts. The Germans needed to defeat the Royal Air Force in order to launch an invasion of Britain. The film is notable for the incredible dogfights and flying scenes.
Notable characters include Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding played by Laurence Olivier, Air Vice-Marshal Sir Keith Park played by Trevor Howard, Air Vice-Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory played by Patrick Wymark, Christopher Plummer as Canadian fighter pilot, Squadron Leader Colin Harvey, Michael Caine as Squadron Leader Canfield, Robert Shaw as a squadron leader and Susannah York as Section Officer Maggie Harvey.
Unlike some sixties war films the director has played this one with a straight bat, attempting to tell the story of the battle as closely as possible without too much comedy or distraction. It uses the incredibly large number of flying scenes to convey the feeling of being one of the pilots and does this well. The music is also notable setting the tone for the film. Olivier plays Dowding very well and Susannah York is the solitary female (though she does have the best line “Don't you yell at me Mr Warwick”, commonly used in households around the country afterwards). The production was expensive for the day and this shows as there are some nice detailed scenes throughout.
If you want to understand how it must have felt to be fighting for your life during those times this film does a good job of showing just how close we came to a German occupied Britain. Stirring stuff!
Amazon: Buy it