5.9/10
370
11 user 6 critic

The Lion Has Wings (1939)

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 »

Writers:

, (story) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A German submarine is sent to the Orkney Isles in 1917 to sink the British fleet.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Sebastian Shaw
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A way of life is dying on an Outer Hebridean island fishing port, but some of the inhabitants resist evacuating to the mainland.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Niall MacGinnis, Belle Chrystall, John Laurie
Mystery | Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young man plots revenge against the woman he believes murdered his cousin, but his plans are shaken when he comes face to face with the enigmatic beauty.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Richard Burton, Audrey Dalton
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A British aristocrat goes in disguise to France to rescue people from The Terror of the guillotine.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Niven, Margaret Leighton, Cyril Cusack
Blackout (1940)
Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Early in World War II, Danish sea captain Andersen, delayed in a British port, tangles with German spies.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Hay Petrie
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When Nazi anti-aircraft fire damages a British bomber, its crew bails out and seeks help from the Dutch underground.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Godfrey Tearle, Eric Portman, Hugh Williams
Comedy | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The Lone Wolf tracks down Nazi spies in London during the German bombing.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Warren William, Eric Blore, Hillary Brooke
Hour of Glory (1949)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps on Britain in 1943, the embittered expert who'll have to disarm them fights a private battle with alcohol.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Farrar, Jack Hawkins, Kathleen Byron
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mild-mannered school-teacher in a Nazi-occupied town during W.W.II finds himself being torn between collaboration and resistance.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, George Sanders
Night Ambush (1957)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Led by British officers, partisans on Crete plan to kidnap the island's German commander and smuggle him to Cairo to embarrass the occupiers.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Marius Goring, David Oxley
Gone to Earth (1950)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A beautiful, superstitious, animal-loving Gypsy is hotly desired by a fox-hunting squire...even after she marries a clergyman.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack
M (1951)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In this Americanization of the 1931 German thriller, both the police and the criminal underworld stalk a mysterious killer who preys on small children.

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: David Wayne, Howard Da Silva, Martin Gabel
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Wing Commander Richardson
...
June
...
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
...
Unnamed Character
Edit

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 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The twin-engine bombers taking off on the mission to bomb the German pocket battleships at Kiel are a mix of Vickers Wellingtons, Type 290 Mark I's and Type 408 Mark 1A's. Note the advanced, unusual, yet very strong and lightweight geodesic construction of the fuselage visible during the interior shots and through the perspex windows from the exterior. Produced from 1936 to 1945, over 11,400 Wellingtons of all types were made. 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 »

Quotes

Narrator, original British version: This is Britain, where we believe in freedom...
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

Featured in Sabu: The Elephant Boy (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
British WWII Propaganda Film
27 May 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Released in 1939 as Britain was engaging Hitler's war machine, this B&W film cannot property be called a documentary. It is a dramatized propaganda film that masquerades as a fact-based call to arms.

The film portrays Britain as an idyllic land of goodwill and happy citizens. In contrast, Germany is portrayed by shots of Nazi soldiers spurred into action by Hitler's hateful histrionics. This is not a film of unbiased observation, obviously. It is the kind of cinema that inflames the emotions and plays on the heartstrings with stirring speeches of patriotism and images of ruddy-cheeked children and self-sacrificing lovers.

Be sure to read the "Goofs" section for this film as the film does contain inaccuracies. Accuracy was not the primary concern of its makers. They wished to motivate British viewers while assuring them that Britain is prepared, just, and in the right. I wonder if viewing the film was considered a patriotic duty at the time?

This film is well worth seeing for its historic footage and as an artifact of its time. Note that--like almost all who go to war--they underestimate the duration of impending hostilities. They forecast the war in Europe to be a 3-year struggle. This is partly due to an overestimation of British power. The film assures one that British resources are superior and British craftsmanship is second to none.

The narrator, who often sounds like a broadcaster at a football match, invokes various examples from British history to create an impression of invincibility. And the film quaintly promises that British resolve will overcome the "frightfulness".

In 1939, American cinema was enjoying its greatest year. In just two years, America would be dragged into the worldwide conflict and its cinematic resources would also produce propaganda that now looks quaint, biased, and sometimes shameful. "The Lion Has Wings" was paving the way for an unfortunate chapter in cinema that can be illuminating and interesting.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Lion Has Wings (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?