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The Lion Has Wings (1939)

 -  Drama | War  -  19 January 1940 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 299 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 5 critic

Alexander Korda's bit for the British war effort shows the world both at peace and on the verge of Nazi domination. Spliced together to form a documentary style film of both newsreel and ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mrs. Richardson
...
Wing Commander Richardson
...
June
Flora Robson ...
Queen Elizabeth I (archive footage)
Robert Douglas ...
Briefing Officer
Anthony Bushell ...
Pilot
Brian Worth ...
Bobby
Austin Trevor ...
Schulemburg - German Air Chief of Staff
Ivan Brandt ...
Air Officer
G.H. Mulcaster ...
Controller
Herbert Lomas ...
Holveg
Milton Rosmer ...
Head of Observer Corps
Ronald Adam ...
German Bomber Chief
Robert Rendel ...
British Chief of Air Staff
John Longden ...
Unnamed Character
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Storyline

Alexander Korda's bit for the British war effort shows the world both at peace and on the verge of Nazi domination. Spliced together to form a documentary style film of both newsreel and acting. This first of its kind in propaganda films of World War II, shows the might of the English Empire and its eagerness to stand up to the oppressors of morality and free will. Crude but effective propaganda cinema that sets the tone for things to come. With its stiff upper lip attitude that pays tribute to the nations prides and shows the black plague of Nationalism spreading across Europe that England shall be motivated, ready and willing to retaliate. Written by Cinema_Fan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Timely - Thunderbolt adventure romance of the Royal Air Force!

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 January 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El león tiene alas  »

Box Office

Budget:

£30,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because it was started and completed so soon after the declaration of war and was seen to show how useful films could be in wartime, this film is considered to have done a lot towards allowing the British film industry to remain active throughout WWII, unlike in WWI when all cinemas were closed and filming effectively stopped for the duration. See more »

Goofs

The section of the film detailing Germany's prewar conquests contains several errors. The narrator states that Germany occupied the Rhineland in March, 1934. In fact, it was in 1936. Immediately after, a map inaccurately depicts the dismembering of Czechoslovakia in October 1938 and March 1939. The 1938 map depicts Germany annexing the Sudetenland, which is somewhat incorrectly drawn upon the map, but neither it nor the narration shows Hungary annexing the southern portion of Czechoslovakia, nor Poland taking the Teschen district in the center north of the country, both of which occurred simultaneously with Germany's occupation of the Sudetenland. (The narrator also speaks of the Sudetenland going "back" to Germany, though in fact it had never been part of Germany.) When the final dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 is depicted, Germany is shown annexing outright not only the western Czech lands of Bohemia and Moravia (which it did annex), but the center of the country as well; meanwhile, the extreme eastern end of the country is labeled "Slovakia", the nominally independent satellite state recognized by Germany. In fact, Slovakia was located in the center of the country, in areas inaccurately depicted as annexed to Germany; the eastern portion labeled "Slovakia" in the film is in fact an area then known as the Carpatho-Ukraine, which was annexed by Hungary the day after Germany occupied the Czech lands in the west (and is today part of Ukraine). See more »

Crazy Credits

The producer expresses his gratitude for the co-operation which he received from the cast, production personnel, newsreel companies, the General Post Office and other documentary film units during the making of this picture. See more »

Connections

Features Triumph of the Will (1935) See more »

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User Reviews

A genuine curiosity
27 October 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is by no means a good movie but it does have substantial curiosity value being the first British movie to be wholly completed after the start of the Second World War .It was completed in 5 weeks and released to cinemas in November 1939 . Costing just £ 30,000 it was financed by its producer ,the renowned Alexander Korda , cashing in his life insurance policy and is a flag waving slice of patriotism aimed at stiffening British resolve in the early days of the war .It was shot in 12 days and is a curious hybrid of a picture .

It opens with an illustrated lecture ,delivered by the newsreel commentator ,E V H Emmett charting the rise of Nazism and contrasting the militaristic stance of Germany with the more sporting and pacifist pursuits of the British .This is simple stuff but true -and those morons carping at action in Iraq would be well advised to study this period of history to learn (always assuming their blinkered minds are capable of learning ) what appeasement leads to .

It makes copious use of footage from the Elizabethan themed Fire Over England ,with Flora Robson as Queen Bess rallying the troops before they sailed out to deal with the Spanish Armada . Its main theme is the contrast between militarism and the virtues it deems England stands for -virtues articulated by Merle Oberon in a scene with Ralph Richardson " We must keep our land ,darling ..we must keep our freedom .We must fight for the things we believe in ...Truth and Beauty ..and Kindness "

One especially compelling piece of documentary footage contrasts the bombastic Nuremeberg rallies with shots of the shy and diffident King George at a Boy Scout rally singing "Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree"

The staged scenes of the attack on the Kiel canal are a bit phoney but overall the movie does a neat job of pointing out the contrast between militarism and democracy

The emphasis is too socially restricted with scenes of English life being confined to suburbia and the landed gentry but as a social document this has value .As a movie drama it is negligible


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