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

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 908 users  
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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 ... See full summary »

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(original story), (original story), 2 more credits »
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Title: Spitfire (1942)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Rosamund John ...
Roland Culver ...
Anne Firth ...
Miss Harper
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)
Edit

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

When the Spitfire squadron is returning early in the movie, the "Skipper" is coming in and the markings on the airplane are "SD" "L" ... after he crashes (no flap landing), the markings are "SD" "E" ... See more »

Quotes

Lady Houston: I don't love the government, but I do love my country.
See more »

Soundtracks

Landsturm
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauß
Arranged by Roy Douglas
See more »

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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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