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Tawny Pipit (1944)

Approved | | Comedy | 5 October 1947 (USA)
Jimmy Bancroft, a fighter pilot, who is recovering from injuries sustained during the Battle of Britain, and his nurse Hazel Broome, come across a pair of rare birds nestling in a field. ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rosamund John ...
Niall MacGinnis ...
Jean Gillie ...
Nancy Forester
Russian Sniper
Christopher Steele ...
Reverend Kingsley
Brefni O'Rorke ...
Uncle Arthur
George Carney ...
Lyonel Watts ...
Silver (as Lionel Watts)
Scott Harrold ...
Shuttleworth (as Scott Harold)
Arthur Burne ...
Billy Bridget ...
Jackie Christie ...
John Salew ...


Jimmy Bancroft, a fighter pilot, who is recovering from injuries sustained during the Battle of Britain, and his nurse Hazel Broome, come across a pair of rare birds nestling in a field. After a run in with the army, and a couple of thieves, they, with the cooperation of the village people and the Ornithology Society, help the eggs to hatch. A wonderful look at life in a small village, during World War II. Written by mike.wilson6@btinternet.com

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Plot Keywords:

pilot | world war two | See All (2) »




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 October 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Poema da Paz  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The birds in the film aren't actually Tawny Pipits, they are Meadow Pipits. Tawny Pipits are very rare in the UK (even more so in wartime when this film was made) and it wasn't possible to find any to film. The rarity of the Tawny Pipit is a major thread to the story. It was decided to photograph a pair of ordinary meadow pipits and keep to shots which showed the back view only; the tawny has a plain breast and the meadow a speckled one, but their back plumage is very similar. See more »


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User Reviews

It Could Only Have Been Made in England and Bless Them For It
27 August 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the early days of American TV, what with the battles raging between the major studios and the new and growing industry, almost the only films available for showing on the new medium were fairly obscure Poverty Row movies (often from defunct studios) and films from Great Britain. From 1950 up to the time that the major Hollywood studios got into TV (say 1955 to 1957) young Anglophile film lovers like myself were privileged to view dozens and dozens, probably into the hundreds, of British-made films, both big and small, and by doing so gain a lifelong love for classic British acting styles, whether practiced by Eric Portman over there or by Ronald Colman over here. One of the films that was always listed in those days was TAWNY PIPIT, yet I never saw it until last night, mainly because when I, as a kid, saw the film listed, I had no idea what 'Tawny Pipit' meant - was it a condition? a place? a liquor? - and I was still unfamiliar with its lead actors, so I never watched it. I missed out on a lot.

This is a delightful film, one that could only have been made in England, showing a whole town - indeed, a whole culture - coming together to protect a bird - the Tawny Pipit - and its eggs, when this bird alights in one of its fields, only the second known incidence of the Pipit visiting Britain to hatch eggs. Since it is a wartime film, the patriotism rings both feverish and proper, and we quickly realize that the town has taken up the fight to protect the Pipit and its eggs not just for the Pipit's sake, but as a show of the rightness of the English Way of Life as against that of the Dreaded Hun (and they are called that several times), this even to the point of having something of a town celebration for the passing through of a Russian female sniper who has supposedly killed a thousand of the Dreaded Hun. Lucie Mannheim, a displaced German-Jewish actress, plays the short but showy role for all it is worth.

A few points regarding the actors. 1) Niall MacGinnis, our erstwhile young hero, played mainly tough seafaring types through much of his career but was immortalized on film for his absolutely iconic performance as Karswell, leader of a devil-worshiping cult in CURSE OF THE DEMON - one of the finest performances ever seen in a horror film. 2) Lucie Mannheim, our Russian heroine, was also the woman who gives rise to all of Robert Donat's consequent problems in THE 39 STEPS, when she is stabbed in the back shortly after meeting him; she was also the wife of that wonderful British actor Marius Goring for some 35 years. 3) Rosamund John, our leading lady, is, at this point in her career, almost unbearably pretty - not beautiful, but with a prettiness that rather transcends beauty - but she is known only to veteran Anglophile film lovers and had no international career. And 4) Bernard Miles, thanks to his acting, directing, producing, etc. (most especially on the stage) was actually created a Peer of the Realm - Lord Miles - before Laurence Olivier rose to that exalted status.

Anyway, this is a simple, lovely film, and if you could tear the kiddies away from their computer games long enough for them to develop an interest in something so laid-back and simple, they might benefit from it. I just did, and it's 65 years since I first decided to NOT watch the movie at their age.

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