Wing-commander Tim Mason leads a squadron of Lancaster bombers on almost nightly raids from England. Having flown eighty-seven missions he will shortly be retiring from flying, but the ...
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Wing-commander Tim Mason leads a squadron of Lancaster bombers on almost nightly raids from England. Having flown eighty-seven missions he will shortly be retiring from flying, but the strain is showing. He tries to make sure his men concentrate only on their job and so keeps women away from the base, but then he himself meets naval officer Eve Canyon. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A quiet, realistic drama about a bomber squadron during the War
This film was also released as APPOINTMENT IN London. Dirk Bogarde is the stalwart star of this wartime drama centered around the lives of the men of a bomber squadron based at Lincoln. A great deal of original aerial footage is edited into the film throughout, culminating in a huge bombing raid over Germany in the latter part of the film, which shows a genuine squadron flying in formation at night, and features the most astonishing real footage of the roaring inferno produced by such a bombing raid. There are also some shots of London in 1952 showing that there was still almost no traffic. Bogarde plays Wing Commander Mason, who at the beginning of the film has flown 87 sorties over Germany and is being urged on all sides to call it quits, but he is determined to go on until he completes 90 missions, because 'I have set my mind on it'. However, he is getting over-tired and everyone worries that he will make mistakes or simply not make it. My wife likes Bogarde a great deal. She used to be taken by her mother to tea with him and his mother in Denham Village when she was a child, when she became entranced by him and his peculiar charm. His mother was apparently rather butch. I only met him and chatted with him on one occasion, at Shepperton. He was certainly a major figure in the history of British cinema. He could be rather waspish, and was no heterosexual. One old friend of ours unexpectedly turned up on the credits of this film, Cecil Ford. He was credited as Assistant Director. I checked IMDb, and he had already been an assistant director for five years by this time. The next year he moved up to Production Manager. Dinah Sheridan plays the love interest in this film. Although everyone thought she was an English rose, Sheridan was really half Russian and half German. She did very well in the part, showing great restraint as 'a widow since Dunkirk' and not falling for the first airman she sees. Everyone in the film is very restrained indeed, and all the upper lips are stiff in the Old Style. This is seriously traditional British fare. Bryan Forbes does very well as an airman who doesn't make it. His wife is played by the interesting actress Anne Leon, who died long ago and made few films. She was very effective, but as she was no glamour gal, it seems she was not offered many parts. It is always a pity when people of talent are not properly recognised. In terms of names we might recognise today, Nigel Stock is uncredited as a co-pilot, not that you would notice. And that is about it. The film was ably directed by Philip Leacock, who went on to make another film with Dirk Bogarde three years later, THE Spanish GARDENER, and later in life was primarily a director of many popular television series. This film is probably about as realistic as you can get, as a portrait of Bomber Command in operation during the War. But it never sacrifices fiction for fact, and maintains strong story lines and dramatic narrative throughout, with all the accuracy serving to make it more moving and authentic.
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