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Encyclopedia > Battle of Britain (film)
Battle of Britain

original film poster
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Produced by Harry Saltzman
S. Benjamin Fisz
Written by James Kennaway
Wilfred Greatorex
Starring Laurence Olivier
Hein Riess
Trevor Howard
Robert Shaw
Christopher Plummer
Michael Caine
Edward Fox
Susannah York
Ian McShane
Kenneth More
Ralph Richardson
Patrick Wymark
Michael Redgrave
Curt Jürgens
Nigel Patrick
Music by Ron Goodwin
William Walton
Cinematography Freddie Young
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) 15 September 1969 (UK)
Running time 151 min.
(original UK version)
(133 min.)
Country UK
Language English
German
Polish
French
Budget $12,000,000
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile
For the 1943 Frank Capra documentary, see The Battle of Britain.

Battle of Britain is a 1969 film directed by Guy Hamilton, and produced by Harry Saltzman and S. Benjamin Fisz. The film broadly relates the events of the Battle of Britain. The script by James Kennaway and Wilfred Greatorex was based on the book The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster. Image File history File links Battle_of_britain. ... Guy Hamilton (born September 11, 1922 [1]) is a noted English film director. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM, (IPA: ; 22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and four-time Emmy winning English actor, director, and producer. ... Hein Riess is a German actor. ... Trevor Howard, CBE (29 September 1913 – 7 January 1988), born Trevor Wallace Howard-Smith, was an English movie, stage and television actor. ... Robert Shaw (August 9, 1927 – August 28, 1978) was an English stage and film actor and writer. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article is about the English actor. ... Edward Charles Morrice Fox, OBE (born 13 April 1937) is an English stage, film and television actor. ... York to the right together with Ilya Salkind on the set of Superman: The Movie, circa 1977 Susannah York (born Susannah Yolande Fletcher on January 9, 1939[1]) is an English actress. ... Ian McShane (born 29 September 1942) is a Golden Globe-winning English actor. ... Kenneth Gilbert More CBE, (20 September 1914 - 12 July 1982) was a successful British cinema, television and theatre actor. ... Sir Ralph David Richardson (19 December 1902 – 10 October 1983) was an English actor, one of a group of theatrical knights of the mid-20th century who, though more closely associated with the stage, did their best to make the transition to film. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... Sir Michael Scudamore Redgrave CBE (March 20, 1908—March 21, 1985) was an English actor of great renown. ... Jürgens in a scene from Der Kommissar (1973) Peer Schmidt, Klaus Kinski and Jürgens (right) in the German movie Bankraub in der Rue Latour (1961) Curd Jürgens playing Sigmund Freud on the stage at Viennas Theater in der Josefstadt (1979) Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz J... Nigel Patrick (2nd May, 1913 - 21st September, 1981) was a British actor, born Nigel Dennis Wemyss in London, England. ... Ronald Alfred Goodwin (February 17, 1925 – January 8, 2003) was a British composer and conductor best known for his film scores. ... Sir William Turner Walton, OM (March 29, 1902–March 8, 1983) was a British composer whose style was influenced by the works of Stravinsky, Sibelius and jazz. ... Freddie Young (9th October, 1902 - 1st December, 1998), (sometimes credited as Frederick A. Young) was one of Britains most distinguished and influential cinematographers. ... This article is about the film studio. ... is the 258th day of the year (259th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also: 1969 (number) 1969 (movie) 1969 (Stargate SG-1) episode. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The Battle of Britain was the fourth of Frank Capras Why We Fight series. ... The year 1969 in film involved some significant events. ... Guy Hamilton (born September 11, 1922 [1]) is a noted English film director. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the Second World War battle. ...


The film endeavoured to be an accurate account of the Battle of Britain, when in the summer and autumn of 1940 the British RAF inflicted a strategic defeat on the Luftwaffe and so ensured the cancellation of Operation Sealion – Hitler's plan to invade Britain. The huge strategic victory of the outnumbered British pilots would be summed up by Winston Churchill in the immortal words: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." This article is about the Second World War battle. ... RAF redirects here. ...   (German IPA: ) is a generic German term for an air force. ... Operation Sealion (Unternehmen (Undertaking) Seelöwe in German) was a World War II German plan to invade the United Kingdom. ... Hitler redirects here. ... Churchill redirects here. ...


The film is notable for its spectacular flying sequences, echoing those seen in Angels One Five (1952) but on a far grander scale than had been seen on film before. These made the film's production very expensive. Angels One Five - a black and white version of teh latour colour Battle of Britain Anyone know the actual location of the emergency control room - in both filmis located behind a shoe shop so presumably true? Dave ...

Contents

Plot

The Battle of Britain attempts to recreate the historical events that underline one of the Second World War's greatest struggles. The film starts with the preceding Battle of France in early 1940 where RAF pilots are swept up in the Nazi Blitzkrieg. In neutral Switzerland, Baron von Richter (Curt Jurgens) officially proposes to British ambassador Sir David Kelly (Ralph Richardson) that fighting the Nazis is a losing cause. Kelly refuses to accept this and, raising his voice, declares that Britain will fight to the end. Jürgens in a scene from Der Kommissar (1973) Curd Jürgens (December 13, 1915 - June 18, 1982) was a German stage and motion-picture actor. ... Sir Ralph David Richardson (19 December 1902 – 10 October 1983) was an English actor, one of a group of theatrical knights of the mid-20th century who, though more closely associated with the stage, did their best to make the transition to film. ...


At the same time, RAF Air Chief Marshal Dowding (Laurence Olivier) realizes that an imminent invasion of Great Britain will require every available aircraft and airman and will not allow additional forces to be deployed to continental Europe. Prime Minister Winston Churchill declares the end of the fight in France and the start of the Battle of Britain. Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM, (IPA: ; 22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and four-time Emmy winning English actor, director, and producer. ...


Through a series of vignettes mixing real figures with fictional characters, the movie documents the efforts for the RAF to prepare for and eventually engage in a monumental air campaign to defend Great Britain. Efforts to rapidly train young RAF pilots at first seem to be futile as the British, Commonwealth and Allied pilots do not have the combat experience of their Luftwaffe foes, and are decimated in large numbers. As the attackers switch from Channel raids to attacks on the RAF airfields, the Allied forces begin to recover and fight back. Eventually, “Eagle Day”, the climatic Luftwaffe operation is launched but through an inadvertent attack on London, an RAF reprisal results in Berlin being bombed. In a rage, Adolf Hitler intercedes in the air campaign and orders London to be razed.


With that fateful decision, the fortunes of the Battle of Britain swing to the RAF as London takes the brunt of the German air armada's attacks. The reprieve from the continual bombing of airfield and aviation installations such as the radar picket stations allows the besieged pilots to build up their strength, even allowing the Polish pilots then in training to join the battle. As the tide turns against a naval invasion of the British Isles, the film ends with the campaign drawing to a close at the end of the 1940 and Churchill's declaration about the "Few" and their role in saving Britain from invasion.


Cast

Trevor Howard as Air Vice-Marshal Park informs Laurence Olivier as Air Chief Marshal Dowding that the Polish pilots are operational. Dowding: "I was wrong about the Poles."

The film has a large all-star cast. It was notable for its portrayal of the Germans by subtitled German-speaking actors. Trevor Howard, CBE (29 September 1913 – 7 January 1988), born Trevor Wallace Howard-Smith, was an English movie, stage and television actor. ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Rodney Park GCB, KBE, MC, DFC, DCL (June 15, 1892 - February 6, 1975) was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force in World War II. // Early Life and Army Career Park was born near Auckland, New Zealand. ... Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM, (IPA: ; 22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and four-time Emmy winning English actor, director, and producer. ... “Dowding” redirects here. ... All-star (also, Allstar or All Star) is a term with meanings in both the worlds of sports and entertainment. ... In printed material In printed material, a subtitle is an explanatory or alternate title. ... German (called Deutsch in German; in German the term germanisch is equivalent to English Germanic), is a member of the western group of Germanic languages and is one of the worlds major languages. ...


Commonwealth

Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM, (IPA: ; 22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and four-time Emmy winning English actor, director, and producer. ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns in RAF No 1 Dress uniform Air Chief Marshal (Air Chf Mshl or ACM) is a senior air officer rank in the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom as well as in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and in the air forces... “Dowding” redirects here. ... RAF redirects here. ... Fighter Command was one of three functional commands that dominated the public perception of the RAF for much of the mid-20th century. ... Trevor Howard, CBE (29 September 1913 – 7 January 1988), born Trevor Wallace Howard-Smith, was an English movie, stage and television actor. ... An Air Vice Marshals sleeve/shoulder insignia Air Vice Marshal is the third most senior rank active in the Royal Air Force today, after the inactivation of Marshal of the Royal Air Force as a substantive rank in peacetime during defence cuts of the 1990s. ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Rodney Park GCB, KBE, MC, DFC, DCL (June 15, 1892 - February 6, 1975) was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force in World War II. // Early Life and Army Career Park was born near Auckland, New Zealand. ... No. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory KCB, DSO and Bar (11 July 1892 - 14 November 1944) was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force in World War II and the highest-ranking British officer to die in the war. ... No. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... A Squadron Leaders sleeve/shoulder insignia Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr in the RAF, SQNLDR in the RNZAF and RAAF and S/L in the former RCAF) is a commissioned rank in some air forces. ... The RCAF Roundel is based on that of the British Royal Air Force with a maple leaf, a symbol of Canada in the centre. ... This article is about the English actor. ... Sir Ralph David Richardson (19 December 1902 – 10 October 1983) was an English actor, one of a group of theatrical knights of the mid-20th century who, though more closely associated with the stage, did their best to make the transition to film. ... Robert Shaw (August 9, 1927 – August 28, 1978) was an English stage and film actor and writer. ... York to the right together with Ilya Salkind on the set of Superman: The Movie, circa 1977 Susannah York (born Susannah Yolande Fletcher on January 9, 1939[1]) is an English actress. ... Ian McShane (born 29 September 1942) is a Golden Globe-winning English actor. ... Kenneth Gilbert More CBE, (20 September 1914 - 12 July 1982) was a successful British cinema, television and theatre actor. ... Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader, CBE, DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar, FRAeS, DL, RAF (21 February 1910–5 September 1982); surname pronounced IPA: ) was a successful fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. ... Reach For The Sky is the name of the biography of Douglas Bader, by Paul Brickhill, and also of a film of Baders story released in 1956, starring Kenneth More and directed by Lewis Gilbert. ... Duxford Aerodrome (IATA: QFO, ICAO: EGSU) is located 8 nautical miles (14. ... There have been several well-known individuals named Edward Fox, including: Edward Fox (c. ...

German

  • Curt Jürgens as the German ambassador to Switzerland.
  • Hein Riess, a larger-than-life musical star, as Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe. One scene included a brief exchange based on what wartime Luftwaffe pilot Adolf Galland (who was to become the youngest man to hold the rank of general in the Luftwaffe at the age of 30) said to Göring. When Göring asked Galland (the character of "Falke" was a substitute in the movie) what he needed, Galland allegedly replied, "Give me a squadron of Spitfires!" According to a booklet publicizing the movie, Riess had allegedly once met Göring himself during the war. Galland himself acted as a technical advisor for the movie.

Jürgens in a scene from Der Kommissar (1973) Peer Schmidt, Klaus Kinski and Jürgens (right) in the German movie Bankraub in der Rue Latour (1961) Curd Jürgens playing Sigmund Freud on the stage at Viennas Theater in der Josefstadt (1979) Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz J... Hein Riess is a German actor. ...   (January 12, 1893 – October 15, 1946) was a German politician and military leader, a leading member of the Nazi Party, second in command of the Third Reich, designated successor to Adolf Hitler, and commander of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force). ...   (German IPA: ) is a generic German term for an air force. ... Adolf Dolfo Joseph Ferdinand Galland[1] (19 March 1912-9 February 1996) was a World War II German fighter pilot and commander of Germanys fighter force (General der Jagdflieger) from 1941 to 1945. ...

Production

RAF pilots "scramble" in the midst of an airfield attack (screenshot)
RAF pilots "scramble" in the midst of an airfield attack (screenshot)

The film required a large number of period aircraft. In September 1965 producers Harry Saltzman and S. Benjamin Fisz contacted former Bomber Command Group Captain Hamish Mahaddie to source the aircraft and arrange for their use.[1] Eventually 100 aircraft were employed, a number whimsically called the "35th largest air force in the world.[2] With Mahaddie's help, the producers located 109 Spitfires in the UK, of which 27 were available for filming, although only 12 were in flyable condition. Furthermore Mahaddie negotiated the use of six Hawker Hurricanes, of which three were in flying condition.[3] The film helped preserve these aircraft, including a rare Spitfire Mk II, which had been a gate guardian at RAF Colerne.[1] This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Bomber Command is an organizational military unit, generally subordinate to the air force of a country. ... The Supermarine Spitfire was a British single-seat fighter, which was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries during the Second World War, and into the 1950s. ... The Hawker Hurricane was a British single-seat fighter aircraft designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. ... Colerne Airfield A former World War Two Bomber Command post From 1952 to 1955 Fighter Command was based here, It was a Training Squadron for Navigation Using the latest Navigation procedures, the Squadron was 238 O.C.U. and Bristol Brigand Aircraft was used for this purpose, and also on...


During the actual battle the majority of RAF Spitfires were of the Mk.1 variety. However, no flyable Mk Is remained, and the producers had to use over nine different marks from different production variants. In order to achieve a measure of commonality, the production made some "standardised" modifications to the Spitfires, including elliptical wingtips, period canopies and various other detail changes. In the classic warbird community, these modified aircraft became known as "Mark Haddies" (in a play on Grp. Capt. Mahaddie's name).[1] A pair of two-seat trainer Spitfires were employed as camera platforms in order to achieve realistic aerial footage "inside" the battle scenes.[4] A rare Hawker Hurricane XII had been restored by Canadian Bob Diemert, who flew the aircraft in the film. Eight non-flying Spitfires and two Hurricanes were available as "set dressing", with one Hurricane able to taxi.[5] The British Supermarine Spitfire was one of the finest fighter aircraft of its time. ...


A North American B-25 Mitchell 44-31508, flown by pilot John "Jeff" Hawke, was the primary aerial camera platform for the aviation sequences. It was painted in a range of garish colours. The markings were primarily intended for line-up references for aerial filming,[2] and to make it easier for other pilots to determine which way the bomber was manoeuvring. When the brightly-coloured aircraft first arrived, at Tablada airbase in Spain in the early afternoon of 18 March 1968, the spontaneous comment from Derek Cracknell, the assistant director, was "It's a bloody great psychedelic monster!". The aircraft was henceforth dubbed the Psychedelic Monster.[6] The North American B-25 Mitchell (NA-62) was an American twin-engined medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation. ... is the 77th day of the year (78th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For psychedelics, see psychedelic drug. ...

The Luftwaffe armada included real aircraft and "film models." (screenshot)
The Luftwaffe armada included real aircraft and "film models." (screenshot)

For the German aircraft, the producers assembled 32 CASA 2.111 twin-engined bombers, which were Spanish-built variations of the German Heinkel He-111H-16. They also found 27 Hispano Aviación HA-1112 M1L "Buchon" single-engined fighters, which were Spanish variations of the German Messerschmitt Bf 109. The Buchons were altered to look more like correct period Bf 109Es, by adding mocked-up machine guns and cannons, redundant tailplane struts, and by removing the aircraft's rounded wingtips.[7] The Spanish aircraft were powered by British Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, and thus all the aircraft used in the film's battle, British and "German" alike, were Merlin-powered. After the film wrapped, one of the HA-1112s was donated to the German Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr, and converted to a Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2 variant, depicting the insignias of German ace Gustav Rödel. The CASA 2. ... The Heinkel He 111 was the primary Luftwaffe medium bomber during the early stages of World War II, and is perhaps the most famous symbol of the German side of the Battle of Britain. ... Hispano Aviación HA-1112 K. 1. ... German Airfield, France, 1941 propaganda photo of the Luftwaffe, Bf 109 fighters on the tarmac The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt in the early 1930s. ... The Rolls-Royce Merlin engines were a series of 12 cylinder, 60° V, 27 litre, liquid cooled piston aircraft engines built during World War II by Rolls-Royce, at Ford in Manchester[1] and under licence in the United States by Packard. ... Messerschmitt Me 163 at the Luftwaffenmuseum in Berlin-Gatow Canadair Sabre at the Luftwaffenmuseum in Berlin-Gatow The Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr (German for Airforce Museum of the Bundeswehr), together with the Militärhistorische Museum der Bundeswehr, is one of the major military history museums in Germany. ... German Airfield, France, 1941 propaganda photo of the Luftwaffe, Bf 109 fighters on the tarmac The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt in the early 1930s. ... Oberst Gustav Rödel (born 24 October 1915 in Merseburg – died 6 February 1995 in Bonn-Bad Godesberg) was a German World War II Luftwaffe fighter ace. ...

Although visually a "look-alike", the HA-1112 M1L Buchon had been a later derivative of the wartime Messerschmitt Bf 109.
Although visually a "look-alike", the HA-1112 M1L Buchon had been a later derivative of the wartime Messerschmitt Bf 109.

In order to recreate Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" dive-bombers, the film company acquired four Percival Proctor training aircraft, and converted two of them into 1/2 scale Stuka replicas, complete with a cranked wing, as "Proctukas".[2] In order to duplicate the steep diving angle of the original Ju 87 attacks, large scale models flown by radio control were used.[2] Radio-controlled Heinkel He 111 models were also built and flown to depict bombers being destroyed over the English Channel. When reviewing the footage of the first crash to be filmed, the producers noticed that a trailing-wire antenna was visible; this was explained away by an added cutaway in which the control wires of a Heinkel are seen to be shot loose. Stuka redirects here. ... The Percival Proctor was a British radio trainer and communications aircraft of World War II. It was a single-engine, low-wing monoplane with seating for three or four, depending on the model. ... For the Thoroughbred racehorse of the same name, see English Channel (horse). ...


Two of the "Heinkels" and the 17 flyable "Messerschmitts" (including one dual-controlled HA-1112-M4L two-seater, which was used for conversion training and as a camera ship), were later flown to England to complete the shoot.[2] In the scene where the Polish training squadron breaks off to attack, ("Repeat, please"), the three most distant "Hurricanes" from the camera were actually Buchons marked as Hurricanes, as there were not enough flyable Hurricanes to make up the formation. In addition to the combat aircraft, two Spanish-built Junkers Ju 52 transports were used. The Junkers Ju 52 (nicknamed Tante Ju - Auntie Ju - and Iron Annie) was a transport aircraft and bomber manufactured 1932 – 1945 by Junkers. ...

Use of RAF bases including Duxford lent an air of authenticity.
Use of RAF bases including Duxford lent an air of authenticity.

Filming in England was carried out at four airfields: Duxford, Debden, North Weald and Hawkinge, all of which were operational during the Battle — indeed, one surviving Second World War hangar at Duxford was actually blown up and demolished for the "Eagle Day" sequence. Duxford Aerodrome (IATA: QFO, ICAO: EGSU) is located 8 nautical miles (14. ... RAF Debden (also known as Station 356 during WWII) is located approximately 1 mile north of the village of Debden, in Essex, England. ... Aircraft Exhibit at North Weald Air Field North Weald Airfield (IATA: N/A, ICAO: EGSX) is an operational airfield, near the village of North Weald Bassett in Epping Forest, Essex. ...


Poor weather beset the filming in the UK; in an effort to reflect the cloudless skies over Britain in the summer of 1940, many upward-facing flying shots were filmed in clear skies over Spain, while the downward-facing shots were almost all done below the clouds, over southern England, whose farmland landscape is very distinctive. However the 1940 camouflage was so perfectly recreated it was difficult to see the aircraft against the ground and sky, so a cloud background was used where possible. Only one Spitfire was relocated to Spain to stand in for the RAF defenders.[2]


Another early key scene was the Dunkirk recreation which coincidentally was shot at the beachfront at Huelva, Spain. Only later did the directors find out this was the actual location where the deception known as "The Man Who Never Was" had been carried out. The Nazis were deceived by counterfeit documents purporting that the Allies were planning to invade Sardinia rather than Sicily, planted on the corpse of a drowned man, dressed as a fictitious Royal Marines Officer, Major Martin, who was allowed to wash up on the beach in 1943.[8] French troops rescued by a British merchant ship at Dunkirk British evacuation on Dunkirk beach Operation Dynamo (or Dunkirk Evacuation, the Miracle of Dunkirk or just Dunkirk) was the name given to the World War II mass evacuation of Allied soldiers from May 26 to June 4, 1940, during the... Huelva is a city in southwestern Spain, the capital of the province of Huelva in the autonomous region of Andalusia. ... The Man Who Never Was is a 1954 book by Ewen Montagu and a 1956 2nd World War war film based on the book. ... Sicily ( in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ... The Royal Marines (RM) are the marines and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service [2]. They are also the United Kingdoms amphibious force and specialists in mountain and Arctic warfare. ...

London in flames
London in flames

Location filming in London was carried out mainly in the St Katharine Docks area where older houses were being demolished to make way for new housing estates. Partly demolished buildings were used to represent bombed out houses and some disused buildings were set on fire. Ironically, St Katharine Docks was one of the few areas of London's East End to survive The Blitz. Many of the extras were survivors of the Blitz. Aldwych tube station, which was used as a wartime air-raid shelter, was also used as a filming location. Almost all the period equipment from the London Fire Brigade Museum was used in the film. A filming location is a place where some or all of a film or television series is produced, in addition to or instead of using sets constructed on a studio backlot or soundstage. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... St Katharine Docks were one of the commercial docks serving London, on the north side of the river Thames just east (downstream) of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. ... The term East End is most commonly used to refer to the East End of London. ... ‹ The template below (Citations missing) is being considered for deletion. ... Aldwych tube station is a disused station formerly on the Piccadilly Line of the London Underground. ... For the general article about fortified structures, see Bunker. ... The London Fire Brigade Museum covers the history of firefighting since 1666 (the date of the Great Fire of London). ...


The scenes at RAF Fighter Command were filmed on location at RAF Bentley Priory, the headquarters of Fighter Command during the Second World War. Air Chief Marshal Dowding's original office, complete with the original furniture, was used. Fighter Command was one of three functional commands that dominated the public perception of the RAF for much of the mid-20th century. ... RAF Bentley Priory is a non-flying Royal Air Force station near Stanmore in the London Borough of Harrow. ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Johns in RAF No 1 Dress uniform Air Chief Marshal (Air Chf Mshl or ACM) is a senior air officer rank in the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom as well as in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and in the air forces... “Dowding” redirects here. ...


Accuracies and inaccuracies

The film is generally faithful to the events although merging some characters for dramatic reasons. It sticks to the orthodox view of the battle — that the Germans threw away their tactical advantages by switching bombing away from RAF airfields to terror bombing of London in revenge for RAF raids on Berlin. Later scholarship has cast doubt on this view, either arguing that the German switch was because they thought they had already defeated the RAF or that accelerated British aircraft production meant that defeat was never likely.[citation needed] This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... This article is about the capital of Germany. ...


The film includes a sequence which relates the events of 15 August, 1940, on which date the Luftwaffe attempted to overwhelm British fighter defences by launching simultaneous attacks on Northern and Southern England. The Northern attack came over the North Sea, from bases in Norway, and consisted of a force of Heinkel He-111 bombers escorted by Messerschmitt Bf 110 long-range escort fighters.[1] The attack was subjected to a robust defence from the Spitfires of No. 72 Squadron RAF, and suffered heavy losses, prompting the Luftwaffe to abandon daylight strikes against Britain from Norway. The film's producers did not have access to Bf 110 aircraft, or suitable replicas, and instead the Heinkels are described as being unescorted, with the Luftwaffe reasoning that "even a Spitfire can't be in two places at once." This article is about the day of the year. ... The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean, located between the coasts of Norway and Denmark in the east, the coast of the British Isles in the west, and the German, Dutch, Belgian and French coasts in the south. ... The Heinkel He 111 was the primary Luftwaffe medium bomber during the early stages of World War II, and is perhaps the most famous symbol of the German side of the Battle of Britain. ... The Messerschmitt Bf 110 (called an M.E. One-Ten by American pilots) was a twin-engine heavy fighter (Zerstörer - German for Destroyer) in the service of the Luftwaffe during World War II. Later in the war it was changed to fighter-bomber (JagdBomber-Jabo) and night fighter operations... The Supermarine Spitfire was a British single-seat fighter, which was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries during the Second World War, and into the 1950s. ... No. ...


The Robert Shaw character "Squadron Leader Skipper" is based loosely on Squadron Leader Sailor Malan, a prominent South African fighter ace and No. 74 Squadron commander during the battle. Adolph Gysbert Malan (March 24, 1910 - September 17, 1963), better known as Sailor Malan, was a famed World War II RAF fighter pilot who led 74 Squadron during the height of the Battle of Britain. ...


The scenes in the operation centre in which the British listen to their fighters' wireless transmissions is for dramatic reasons only. In reality, the operations centre received information on the progress of the battle by telephone from the sector airfields.


The scenes at the end of the film, where the RAF pilots are seen suddenly idle and left awaiting the return of the Luftwaffe raids is more cinematic license; the Battle gradually fizzled out through late September although further daylight raids continued for some weeks after the large 15 September engagement. October 31st is regarded as the official end of the Battle on the British side. is the 258th day of the year (259th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... October 31 is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 61 days remaining. ...


The confrontational scene between Dowding, Park, and Leigh-Mallory is entirely fictitious. There were tensions between the two sector commanders but not on this scale. “Dowding” redirects here. ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Rodney Park GCB, KBE, MC, DFC, DCL (June 15, 1892 - February 6, 1975) was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force in World War II. // Early Life and Army Career Park was born near Auckland, New Zealand. ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory KCB, DSO and Bar (11 July 1892 - 14 November 1944) was a senior commander in the Royal Air Force in World War II and the highest-ranking British officer to die in the war. ...


Having inserted this scene, the film doesn't go on to mention that shortly following the end of the Battle, both Dowding and Park were forced out of command by Leigh-Mallory, despite their having proved that Leigh-Mallory's theories were unworkable.[9]


Dowding was a Scot; Laurence Olivier was unaware of this, though since Dowding was educated at Winchester College, it is unlikely he retained an accent (Dowding met Olivier on the set of Battle of Britain, as shown in a documentary present on the UK DVD release; as such, Olivier was familiar with Dowding's actual voice). For the university in Winchester of a similar name, see University of Winchester. ...


One major omission is at the end of the film, when casualties from both sides are listed. The film does not mention losses suffered by Corpo Aereo Italiano, an Italian expeditionary force that took part in the battle. In fact, Corpo Aereo Italiano is not mentioned at all during the film. One entry in the casualty list is a lone pilot from Israel, which was the British protectorate of Palestine until after war's end in 1948. The Corpo Aereo Italiano (C.A.I.) was an Italian expeditionary force participating in the Battle of Britain during the final months of 1940. ... Expeditionary Force is a generic name sometimes applied to a military force dispatched to fight in a foreign country. ...


There was no attempt to recreate the effect of tracer ammunition.


Goring's train in the film is actually a Spanish one and not a French one and the steam locomotive hauling it is of a class that did not come into service on the Spanish National Railways until 1951.


Memorable quotes

  • Boys spotting approaching German raiders:
Boy 1:"Messerschmitts!"
Boy 2:"'Einkels!"
Boy 1:"Messerschmitts!"
Boy 2:"No they ain't, they're 'Einkels!"
  • The British Ambassador's response to a German ultimatum:
"We're not easily frightened. Also we know how hard it is for an army to cross the Channel — the last little corporal to try it came a cropper. So don't threaten or dictate to us until you're marching up Whitehall! ...and even then we won't listen!"
  • The Ambassador's coda (to his wife): "It's unforgivable. I lost my temper."
  • When troubled English pilot, "Simon," returns to land, he is forced to do a "go-around" because he had failed to put down his landing gear. Two of the more experienced pilots launch into an evidently familiar routine:
Pilot Officer Archie: "You can teach..."
Sergeant Pilot Andy joins in: "...monkeys to fly better than that!"
  • A group of German prisoners have been brought to a bombed airfield:
Squadron Leader Skipper: "Where are you taking those vultures?"
RAF NCO: "Officers to the mess, NCOs to the guard room, Sir."
Squadron Leader Skipper: "Like hell you are. They're responsible for all that (turning and gesturing to the ruined field), get 'em to clear it up!"
NCO: "But, what about the officers, Sir?"
Squadron Leader Skipper: "Give them a bloody shovel!"
  • Leigh-Mallory and Park, in Dowding's office:
Leigh-Mallory: "It's better to shoot down 50 bombers after they hit their targets than ten before."
Park: "Remember that the targets are my airfields, Leigh-Mallory, and you're not getting 50, you're not even getting 10!"
  • Sergeant Pilot Andy, having been shot down in combat, appears in the doorway of the hangar.
Squadron Leader Skipper: "Where the 'ell have you been?"
Sergeant Pilot Andy: "Learning to swim."
Squadron Leader Skipper: "Did you get him?"
Sergeant Pilot Andy: "All I got was a bellyful of English Channel."
  • Summoned to Berlin to be disciplined for accidentally bombing London, Major Brandt and his navigator drive through the brightly lit city. (Dialogue is in German, text given is that of the English subtitles.)
Navigator: "Haven't they heard of a blackout?"
Brandt: "You heard what Göring said — 'If one enemy bomb falls on Berlin, you can call me Meier'".[10]
Street lights suddenly go out, air-raid sirens sound and there is panic in the streets. Searchlights sweep the sky as anti-aircraft guns begin firing. Brandt and his navigator get out of their car and look up at the sky.
Navigator: "You may call me Meier..."
  • Göring, gazing with pride at a huge fleet of German aircraft heading for England:
"If we lose the war now, we deserve to have our arses kicked!." (Dialogue is in German, text given is that of the English subtitles.)
  • After the airfield bombing raid, Warrant Officer Warwick, a typically aggressive senior non-commissioned officer but junior in rank to Section Officer Harvey, shouts an order to her from a distance:
Warwick: "Put that cigarette out! The mains have gone, Can't you smell gas?"
Harvey (pausing two beats), screams back: "Don't you yell at me, Mr. Warwick!"

Musical score

The film has two musical scores. The first was written by Sir William Walton, and conducted by Malcolm Arnold. However, the music department at United Artists objected that the score was too short. As a result, a further score was commissioned from Ron Goodwin. Producer S. Benjamin Fisz and actor Sir Laurence Olivier protested this decision, and Olivier threatened to take his name from the credits. In the end, one segment of the Walton score, titled The Battle in the Air, which framed the climactic air battles of 15 September 1940, was retained in the final cut. The Walton score was played with no sound effects of aircraft motors or gunfire, giving this sequence a transcendent, lyrical quality. Tapes of the Walton score were believed lost forever until being rediscovered in 1990. Since then the score has been restored and released on compact disc. The complete Walton score was included as an added extra on the Region 2 Special Edition DVD of the film, which was released in June 2004. Sir William Turner Walton, OM (March 29, 1902–March 8, 1983) was a British composer whose style was influenced by the works of Stravinsky, Sibelius and jazz. ... Sir Malcolm Arnold Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, CBE (21 October 1921 – 23 September 2006) was an English composer. ... This article is about the film studio. ... Ronald Alfred Goodwin (February 17, 1925 – January 8, 2003) was a British composer and conductor best known for his film scores. ... Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM, (IPA: ; 22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and four-time Emmy winning English actor, director, and producer. ... is the 258th day of the year (259th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

For the opening credits, Goodwin composed the Aces High March in the style of a traditional German march in 2/4 time. The march places heavy emphasis on the "oom-pah" sound of tubas and lower-pitched horns on the first and second beats and has the glockenspiel double the horns in the melody. Because of the great length of the credit sequence, which involves a general's inspection of a newly-occupied airbase in France, the Aces High has three separate bridges between choruses of the main theme. American radio personality G. Gordon Liddy has used the march as bumper music on his syndicated radio program. DVD cover scan from the movie Battle of Britain, personal scan, claiming fair use (does not detract from original work, scanned from legal copy, image is of sufficiently low resolution). ... Most orchestral glockenspiels are mounted in a case. ... George Gordon Battle Liddy (born November 30, 1930) was the chief operative for U.S. President Richard Nixons White House Plumbers unit. ...


Influence

Both a hardcover and paperback book on the making of the movie were published in 1969.


The use of actual aircraft in flying sequences has led to a number of subsequent productions utilizing stock footage derived from the Battle of Britain:

  • The scene of a damaged Heinkel bomber emitting smoke and losing altitude was used in the Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall (1972).
  • Short clips from the main "battle in the air" sequence were used in the Baa Baa Black Sheep television series (1976–1978).
  • A fragment of the soundtrack of one of the dogfights is used on the album The Wall (1979) by Pink Floyd, right at the start of the track Vera.
  • Some of the Stuka footage was re-used in the BBC drama series No Bananas (1996).
  • Footage from the film was incorporated in the Czech film Dark Blue World (2001).

Baa Baa Black Sheep (later syndicated as Black Sheep Squadron) is a television series that aired on NBC from 1976 until 1978. ... Pink Floyd are an English rock band that initially earned recognition for their psychedelic or space rock music, and, as they evolved, for their progressive rock music. ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... Dark Blue World (Czech: Tmavomodrý svět) is a 2001 film by Czech director Jan Svěrák about Czechoslovakian pilots who fought for the British Royal Air Force during World War II. The screenplay was written by Zdeněk Svěrák, the father of the director. ...

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Hankin 1968, p. 48.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Hankin 1968, p. 49.
  3. ^ Schnepf 1970, p. 25.
  4. ^ Schnepf 1970, p. 45.
  5. ^ MacCarron 1999, p. 80.
  6. ^ Mosley 1969, p. 75.
  7. ^ Crump 2007, p. 73.
  8. ^ Mosley 1969, p. 56.
  9. ^ Deighton, Len. Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain. New York: Ballantine Books, 1979. ISBN 0-06-100802-8.
  10. ^ ("Meier" [Meierei= (German) dairy-farm] is a common German Jewish surname and was used by Göring as a term of derision.

  (January 12, 1893 – October 15, 1946) was a German politician and military leader, a leading member of the Nazi Party, second in command of the Third Reich, designated successor to Adolf Hitler, and commander of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force). ...

Bibliography

  • Crump, Bill. "Bandits on Film." FlyPast October 2007.
  • Hankin, Raymond. "Filming the Battle." Flying Review International Vol. 24, no. 2, October 1968.
  • MacCarron, Donald. "Mahaddie's Air Force." FlyPast September 1999.
  • Mosley, Leonard. Battle of Britain: The Story of a Film. London: Pan Books, 1969. ISBN 0-330-02357-8.
  • Schnepf, Ed, ed. "The Few: Making the Battle of Britain." Air Classics Vol. 6, No. 4, April 1970.

External links

For the in-memory database management system, see In-memory database. ... Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a cable television channel featuring commercial-free classic movies, mostly from the Turner Entertainment and Warner Bros. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The United Kingdom has been influential in the technological, commercial, and artistic development of cinema. ... This is a list of some of the more notable British films. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it. ... This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Battle of Britain (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (785 words)
The film aims to be an historically accurate account of the Battle of Britain, when in the summer and autumn of 1940 the British RAF inflicted a strategic defeat on the Nazi Luftwaffe and so ensured the cancellation of Operation Sealion - Hitler's plan to invade Britain.
The film is notable for its portrayal of the Germans by subtitled German-speaking actors.
Filming was carried out at four airfields, Duxford, Debden, North Weald and Hawkinge, all of which were operational RAF stations during the actual Battle of Britain.
Battle of Britain (5170 words)
The Battle of Britain was not the first major battle to be fought entirely in the air, as the British mainland had already suffered a campaign of attacks by Zeppelins and long range bombers during World War I.
However, the battle was the largest and most sustained bombing campaign yet attempted and the first real test of the strategic bombing theories that had emerged since the previous World War.
Britain later served as a base from which Operation Overlord, aka the Battle of Normandy, was launched against Nazi forces in Europe.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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