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During the Allied Bombing offensive of World War II the public was often informed that "A raid took place last night over ..., One (or often more) of Our Aircraft Is Missing". Behind these sombre words hid tales of death, destruction and derring-do. This is the story of one such bomber crew who were shot down and the brave Dutch patriots who helped them home. Written by
Steve Crook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of the best war films made during World War II, from one of Britain's finest film-making teams
One of the best war films produced World War II, `One of Our Aircraft is Missing' is the product of one of the best British filmmaking teams of the 1940s, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. The makers of such unusual and memorable films as `The Red Shoes' and `Black Narcissus', Powel and Pressburger's films were never like anyone else's. Their approach to a wartime propaganda film was equally different.
`One of Our Aircraft is Missing' begins dramatically with the crash of an RAF Vickers Wellington bomber designated `B-For Bertie', and then flashes back to the events leading thereto. The viewer is introduced to the six members of crew, and learns that they had actually bailed out of their crippled aircraft prior to the crash, landing in Nazi-occupied Holland. The remainder of the story describes their escape back to Britain.
What makes this film different from the conventional Hollywood treatment of similar subject matter is that `One of Our Aircraft is Missing' stresses the courage and resourcefulness of the Dutch civilians rather than the aircrew. Indeed, it made manifestly clear that the British crew could never have escaped without the assistance of a great many ordinary Dutch people of all ages and both sexes. The characters, both British and Dutch, are all well drawn Surprisingly enough, even the Germans are depicted as not entirely inhuman. `They want to be liked', says one Dutch patriot who has wormed her way into their confidence by posing as a Quisling.
From a historical perspective, this film is of interest due to its depiction of RAF Bomber Command operations during the early part of World War II, as well as details of the interior of the famous Wellington Bomber. It is also worth seeing as early example of the work of legendary film director David Lean (`Oliver Twist', `Bridge Over the River Kwai', `Lawrence of Arabia', Doctor Zhivago', Ryan's Daughter', etc), who served as Film Editor. There is also an early performance by a very young (and thin) Peter Ustinov, who acts in Dutch and Latin as well as English. All in all, this film is well worth a look.
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