5.6/10
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13 user 7 critic

The Lion Has Wings (1939)

Alexander Korda's bit for the British war effort shows the world both at peace and on the verge of Nazi domination. Spliced together to form a documentary-style movie of both newsreel and ... See full summary »

Writer:

Ian Dalrymple (by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Merle Oberon ... Mrs. Richardson
Ralph Richardson ... Wing Commander Richardson
June Duprez ... June
Flora Robson ... Queen Elizabeth I (archive footage)
Robert Douglas ... Briefing Officer
Anthony Bushell ... Pilot
Brian Worth Brian Worth ... Bobby
Austin Trevor ... Schulemburg - German Air Chief of Staff
Ivan Brandt Ivan Brandt ... Air Officer
G.H. Mulcaster G.H. Mulcaster ... Controller
Herbert Lomas Herbert Lomas ... Holveg
Milton Rosmer ... Head of Observer Corps
Ronald Adam ... German Bomber Chief
Robert Rendel ... British Chief of Air Staff
John Longden ... Unnamed Character
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Storyline

Alexander Korda's bit for the British war effort shows the world both at peace and on the verge of Nazi domination. Spliced together to form a documentary-style movie of both newsreel and acting. This first of its kind in propaganda films of World War II, shows the might of the English Empire and its eagerness to stand up to the oppressors of morality and free will. Crude, but effective propaganda cinema that sets the tone for things to come. With its stiff upper lip attitude that pays tribute to the nation's pride and shows the black plague of Nationalism spreading across Europe that England shall be motivated, ready, and willing to retaliate. Written by Cinema_Fan

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Taglines:

Timely - Thunderbolt adventure romance of the Royal Air Force! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the movie was a commercial success, it was widely criticized as patronizing and overly simplistic. See more »

Goofs

The close up shot of the Spitfire firing it's guns shows the undercarriage is in the lowered position, proving the footage is actually from a ground firing test. See more »

Quotes

Queen Elizabeth I: I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and valour of a king, aye, and a King of England too...
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: The producer expresses his gratitude for the co-operation which he received from the cast, production personnel, newsreel companies, the General Post Office and other documentary film units during the making of this picture. See more »

Connections

Featured in Sabu: The Elephant Boy (1993) See more »

User Reviews

A period piece for aviation enthusiasts.
18 February 2002 | by shrbwSee all my reviews

The Korda brothers,although expatriate Hungarians, made some of the finest British films in the thirties and forties. They managed to create films that reflected the contemporary cultural ethos (including the imperialist ethos) that the country's political establishment wanted, and it comes as no surprise that their first film after the outbreak of the Second World War should be a patriotic morale booster. Indeed, this was the first film made in Britain about the conflict that had just started.

This film was made in a great hurry, and it shows. A large part of it consists of re-used peacetime newsreel film with a special commentary. This sounds pretty dire, but some of the cutting is interesting - contrasting a Nuremburg Rally with a race meeting, and Nazi speakers with Prince Monolulu (a well known tipster)yelling "I've got a horse."

Other parts are sections from different films. Scenes from 'Fire Over England' (with Flora Robson) compares the Nazi threat with the Spanish Armada. Other footage is from a pre-war instructional film about air raid precautions, in which a mock air raid takes place.

The actors are almost superfluous, and you wonder what they are doing there. One assumes that they were thrown in as a way of appealing to the ordinary cinema audience, who might otherwise have stayed away from a totally non-fiction film.

However, it is the aviation scenes that are the main attraction. Some of them are bizarre. At this stage, there was no footage of German aircraft available, so dog fights were recreated using shots of British aircraft (including some obsolete types), and a repeated shot of a Focke Wolf airliner (!) taking off. (At least it had German markings and looked like a bomber!).

The best shots were taken at an airfield housing a Spitfire squadron. Whilst there, the film crew accidently recorded the return of a group of bombers from a raid on warships near the Kiel Canal (the first R.A.F. raid of the war, and a major headline event at the time).

Two points. Although radar had already come into use, this could not be shown. Thus, the Spitfires are scrambled on the basis of information from a spy, corroborated by sound detectors and the naked eye. And, at one point, the German bombing force are foiled by a balloon barrage!


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

19 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El león tiene alas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP30,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (recorded on) (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording Noiseless Recording)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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