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Spitfire (1942)

The First of the Few (original title)
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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Writers:

(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
...
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


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:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the opening scenes, the RAF pilots who are being briefed are from No. 501 Squadron. The Spitfires are carrying the markings "SD", which were carried by No. 501 "Mandrel" Squadron. At the height of the battle these pilots would have been flying the Hawker Hurricane instead of the Spitfire. The squadron had fought in the Battle or France before the evacuation of the BEF at Dunkirk at the end of May 1940. The squadron then moved to RAF Kenley, from where they fought the Battle of Britain. See more »

Goofs

Where David Niven is talking to Leslie Howards' secretary, she is using a 'Royal' typewriter. Later, when Leslie Howard comes out of his office and talks to Crisp (Niven), the typewriter is a 'Jaydo' or 'Jaybo' brand. See more »

Quotes

Geoffrey Crisp: Mitch, what do really think I can get out of her?
Reginald J. Mitchell: Oh, two eighty five.
Geoffrey Crisp: [astonished] Two eighty-five? Mitch, this is 1927, not 1977!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Soundtracks

Kraliwinkler
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Roy Douglas
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User Reviews

 
Excellent and Very Moving
8 January 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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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