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Battle of Britain VHS
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There's something about this film that's so irresistible, despite its grandiose manipulation. Maybe because it recounts the greatest air battle in history, achieving the greatest aerial battle in film history. Maybe because it has such a terrific cast (Harry Andrews, Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Curt Jurgens, Laurence Olivier, Nigel Patrick, Christopher Plummer, Michael Redgrave, Ralph Richardson, Robert Shaw, Patrick Wymark, and Edward Fox). Maybe because it's so technically well-made, thanks to the Bond team of producer Harry Saltzman and director Guy Hamilton and the great cinematographer Freddie Young. Or maybe because there is something truly riveting about watching the British kick the Nazis back to Germany. --Bill Desowitz
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What it doesn't have is a coherent plot. The production team seems to have been overwhelmed by the burden of portraying one of the great, mythic moments of British history in the 20th Century. As Churchill noted, "never in the field of human conflict have so many owed so much to so few." This was a moment still in living memory for many people when the movie was released in 1969. The end result is more documentary than traditional story-telling. The movie hops from scene to scene with only a minimal effort to connect the sequences or link the actors.
The movie does feature some terrific scenes. The sequence involving the hasty departure from France of flying units about to be overrun by oncoming German Army units is by turns humorous and harsh, as pilots and non-commissioned officers scramble to save their few remaining aircraft. The training sequences in Britain are similarly well-done, as veteran flyers played by Christopher Plummer and Robert Shaw attempt to whip rookie pilots into shape to face the Luftwaffe. The flying sequences feature real period aircraft carving the sky, although the actors can be tough to tell apart in their goggles and flying helmets. The damage done by the Nazi blitz is heartbreaking.
The Germans themselves are something of an afterthought in this movie, there to provide stereotypical opponents to be shot down over the British Isles. Very few of the Germans are given more than cursory character development and a handful of lines.
This movie is highly recommended to fans of the Battle of Britain, who can overlook the skimpy plot development and revel in the flying sequences and the undoubted glory of the RAF's gritty, gutty win in the air battle. Those without familarity with the history of the Battle of Britain, or who need the more traditional movie elements, may find the it more challenging to follow.
This does a brilliant job of telling the story and is the very best film on the subject that I have ever seen. It should be noted that it was among a group of high quality WWII films that came out in those years, which also included Patton, Tora Tora Tora and others. Later films such as the appallingly Hollywood BS-ized movie Pearl Harbor bark around ten years ago.
If someone wants to know what it was like for the pilots on both sides of the conflict during that critically important few months in world history, the Battle of Britain is the film to see.
Superior photography of the reel deal lends a reality to the screen that computer driven technology
just can't duplicate.
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The story was disjointed and left some big questions.....e.g.Read more