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William A. Wellman
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film's opening credits state: "Starring pilots and other personnel of Fighter Command Royal Air Force." See more »
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 »
Air Ministry Official:
[Referring to the new Spitfire airplane]
We shall need it in 12 months. Sorry, but that's all the time we can give you.
Reginald J. Mitchell:
[Referring to his imminent death]
You shall have it in eight. Because... because that's all the time *I* can give *you*!
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Opening credits prologue: Zero Day September 15th, 1940 See more »
This film was released in the USA within two weeks of Leslie Howard's death in June 1943. The plane Howard was flying in was shot down over the Bay of Biscay.
Leslie Howard produced and directed this biography of R.J. Mitchell as well as starring in the film. This biography is also part propaganda and part documentary as Howard shows us Britain's advances in aviation going into World War II.
The cast is quite good, with David Niven as Crisp especially solid. Rosamund John plays the ever-patient wife. Also good are Roland Culver as Commander Bride, Toni Edgar-Bruce as Lady Houston, Anne Firth as Harper, Derrick De Marney as Jefferson, and Howard's daughter, Leslie Ruth Howard, in her only film appearance as Nurse Kennedy.
This film is hugely important because it is Leslie Howard's final film appearance but also because it documents the development of the famous Spitfire, without which Britain might have fallen to Germany.
This is a wonderful film.
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