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The Net is a fun mystery story, surrounding the battle amongst a group of
scientists for control of M7, a supersonic plane which aims to help man
As the battle for control of the project rages, the film creates some love interest, as Phyllis Calvert struggles to maintain her loyalty to her obsessed scientist husband.
But the highlight of this film must be the special effects and sound of the supersonic aircraft. They look a bit lame now, but in the 1950's this would have been one of the ultimate hi-tech films.
As has been previously mentioned this film followed The Sound Barrier by one year.If you have to watch only one demented scientist in the air then chose the original.This film fails to engage either as drama or aviation epic.In fact the film turns almost to farce when Donald decides to take the plane up again despite having been forbidden to do so.For some reason Donald cannot seem to appreciate that if he crashes the plane and its development will reach a conclusion.I think this film will most appeal to aviation buffs or people who enjoy seeing shots of loudspeakers with voices coming out of them.Since I am neither I found the film a complete bore.
This movie came out a year after David Lean's BREAKING THE SOUND
BARRIER and can probably best be described as Antony Asquith's take on
the matter. James Donald -- whom I best recall as the wan Senior
British Officer in THE GREAT ESCAPE -- is the boffin-pilot of the M-7,
a plane that can go three times the sound barrier. Top-billed Phyllis
Calvert is underused as his loyal wife who is tempted by continental
Herbert Lom; and there is a spy somewhere at the testing facility,
which has everyone on edge.
Asquith seems happiest with the soap opera aspects of the movie, which is the least interesting part to me; the "Flying Wing" design of the plane, with its "atomic motors" looks good, but I kept expecting someone to begin singing the theme from "Supercar!"
For a soap opera with scientific bafflegab, it's a well-constructed bit of fluff. Cinematographer Desmond Dickinson does his usual interesting work, shooting the majority of the scenes in a dark, foreboding fashion that suggests the murky loyalties and emotions; only the control room and the scenes of the plane in flight are brightly lit: that's where reality and certainty lie.
Still, it's an uneasy melding of the two genres. I'd stick with the Lean movie, even if the plane only goes a third as fast.
Anthony Asquith always delivers, and here is a further development of
the experimental paths of David Lean's "The Sound Barrier" some year
before, getting almost metaphysical on flying as high and fast as
But like most of Asquith's films, it's really a psychological delving and charting this time into the weird issue of science as an obsession bordering on madness. Prof. Michael Heathley (James Donald) lives only for his airplane and neglects his charming beautiful wife Phyllis Calvert, always a joy on the screen. He is evidently at risk as he is constantly overworking and prone to take risks - his only fear is to get stuck in "the net of a fossilized scientist", and much of the film is symbolically behind barbed wire. In his team are Robert Beatty as a security major and Herbert Lom admiring his wife and actually going a bit far flirting with her, but you excuse him since she is neglected and so irresistible. Another cheerful doctor (Noel Willman) is also with them, but you are alarmed from the start by his demeanour, and he will surprise you. The music adroitly illustrates the border line element in the workshop, and there is some spying business going on as well.
There are some nerve-racking flying sequences, just like in "The Sound Barrier", but David Lean's film sticks more to the ground and reality, while here you are taken for a ride beyond consciousness bordering almost on science fiction. It's a thriller, and as the tension increases at constantly higher gear as the film climaxes, you will not able to relax until after the very last minute.
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