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It's a promotional film sketching in the making of the feature film "The Battle of Britain," the kind of hour-long video you're likely to find under "Special Features" on the "Collector's Edition" of the film. In some ways it's as interesting as the feature film itself.
For one thing, there are brief interviews with survivors from both sides, British and German, and they're only in middle or late-middle age! Now, as I write this, from the perspective of 2015, the interviewees in 1972 look youthful. It's a bit eerie to realize that that entire generation is almost gone. O, memento mori! But the making of the feature was covered widely in the press at the time. It was, after all, a great victory for the Allies, and the picture did cost a lot of money. It was mostly shot on Spanish locations and many of the pilots were Spanish.
There are some points made that I think of as mistakes or, let's say, lapses. The high-level British staff are arguing over tactics. One wants a "big wing" (ie., a lot of fighters assembled in the air before attacking the German bombers) and the other complains that it takes too long for a big wing to get organized. By the time they're ready, the bombers have finished their job and are on the way home. But in this argument over tactics, no mention is made of the fact that the British "vic" formation proved ineffective against the Luftwaffe's "finger four", and so the British copied the German formation.
It's a small point but it reflects the attitude of the production and direction, which consistently leaves out the disadvantages that the German fighters were operating under. They had about 25 minutes of combat time over England before their fuel ran out. Much was made of this same problem when we faced it during the Allied bombing campaign over German.
The sense of witnessing history is a little tainted by the appearance of the Me-109s. The Messerschmidt fighters we see have a large air intake just behind the spinner, giving them a pregnant appearance and costing them the sleek outlines of the originals.
The director, Guy Hamilton, is heard musing about his conflict over whether or not he should add his own point of view to objective historical facts. He decides that he should, that it's his moral duty. I'm not so sure because the more subjective a narrative plot becomes, the more it resembles propaganda.
There's a very readable story in an issue of Esquire Magazine that was published about the time of this release. Among other juicy notes, it has all the other pilots laughing at the wild behavior of the Spanish flyers, who were hot-dogging it all over the sky.
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