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Spitfire (1942)
"The First of the Few" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, War  |  14 September 1942 (UK)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 977 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 5 critic

Aircraft designer/patriot R. J. Mitchell, alarmed at growing German militarism, works to perfect a defense against the German Messerschmidt at the cost of his health.

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(original story), (original story) (as Kay Strueby) , 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Rosamund John ...
Roland Culver ...
Anne Firth ...
David Horne ...
Mr. Higgins
J.H. Roberts ...
Sir Robert McLean (as J. H. Roberts)
Derrick De Marney ...
Squadron Leader Jefferson
Rosalyn Boulter ...
Mabel Lovesay
Herbert Cameron ...
MacPherson
Toni Edgar-Bruce ...
Lady Houston (as Toni Edgar Bruce)
Gordon McLeod ...
Major Buchan
George Skillan ...
Mr. Royce
Erik Freund ...
Messerschmitt
Fritz Wendhausen ...
Von Straben (as F. R. Wendhausen)
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Storyline

By the late 1920's aircraft designer R.J. Mitchell feels he has achieved all he wants with his revolutionary mono-planes winning trophy after trophy. But a holiday in Germany shortly after Hitler assumes power convinces him that it is vital to design a completely new type of fighter plane and that sooner or later Britain's very survival may depend on what he comes to call the Spitfire. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 September 1942 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Spitfire  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film Leslie Howard's Mitchell says he wants his new fighter to be "a bird that breathes fire and spits out death and destruction; A *spitfire* bird", giving the aircraft its name. In reality, when RJ Mitchell was told the name the RAF had given to his design he is supposed to have said: "That's the sort of bloody silly name they *would* choose!" See more »

Goofs

During the air race in Italy, the Supermarine flown by Niven is an open cockpit while in the air. After the race as Howard is standing by the plane it is shown with an open forward hinged canopy cover. See more »

Quotes

[Last lines]
Geoffrey Crisp: [Sotto voce, to the heavens] Mitch, Mitch, they can't take the Spitfires Mitch. They can't take 'em.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Zero Day September 15th, 1940 See more »

Soundtracks

Der kleine Rekrut
(uncredited)
Music by Friedrich Wilhelm Kücken
Arranged by Roy Douglas
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User Reviews

fine swansong for Leslie Howard
21 July 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This movie, a biopic of R.J. Mitchell, inventor of the Spitfire plane, saw the final appearance of that great British actor, Leslie Howard, who died in 1943 when his plane was shot down by the Germans. It was a fitting finale that one of his best roles, as the idealistic dreamer Mitchell, was his last.

Equally good (but perhaps a little young for the role) is David Niven as Mitchell's close pal Crisp. Niven was always good value and was convincing in uniform or official roles. Rosamund John has the remaining plum part as Mrs Mitchell, and plays the part very well.

'The First of the Few' works as propaganda, as an involving war actioner, and as a character study of an eccentric inventive mind. Howard's skill as a director ensures all angles are adequately covered and that the viewer is rarely bored. Dated it may be (and obviously so given the date of production) but should still appeal to a wide and discerning audience.


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