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Spitfire (1942)

The First of the Few (original title)
Aircraft designer/patriot R. J. Mitchell, alarmed at growing German militarism, works to perfect a defense against the German Messerschmidt at the cost of his health.

Director:

Leslie Howard

Writers:

Henry C. James (original story), Katherine Strueby (original story) (as Kay Strueby) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leslie Howard ... R.J. Mitchell
David Niven ... Geoffrey Crisp
Rosamund John ... Diana Mitchell
Roland Culver ... Commander Bride
Anne Firth Anne Firth ... Miss Harper
David Horne ... Mr. Higgins
J.H. Roberts ... Sir Robert McLean
Derrick De Marney ... Squadron Leader Jefferson
Rosalyn Boulter Rosalyn Boulter ... Mabel Lovesay
Herbert Cameron Herbert Cameron ... MacPherson
Toni Edgar-Bruce Toni Edgar-Bruce ... Lady Houston (as Toni Edgar Bruce)
Gordon McLeod Gordon McLeod ... Major Buchan
George Skillan George Skillan ... Mr. Royce
Erik Freund Erik Freund ... Messerschmitt
Fritz Wendhausen Fritz Wendhausen ... Von Straben (as F.R. Wendhausen)
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Storyline

By the late 1920's aircraft designer R.J. Mitchell feels he has achieved all he wants with his revolutionary mono-planes winning trophy after trophy. But a holiday in Germany shortly after Hitler assumes power convinces him that it is vital to design a completely new type of fighter plane and that sooner or later Britain's very survival may depend on what he comes to call the Spitfire. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Italian | German

Release Date:

14 September 1942 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Spitfire See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

British Aviation Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Images, sounds and narration from the film appear in the music track (and related visuals) "Spitfire" by British band Public Service Broadcasting. See more »

Goofs

Where David Niven is talking to Leslie Howards' secretary, she is using a 'Royal' typewriter. In a following scene, when Leslie Howard comes out of his office and talks to Crisp (Niven), it appears that the typewriter is a 'Jaydo' or 'Jaybo' brand. In actuality, a closer look reveals that the typewriter in both shots is a Royal, however, during editing, the film was apparently transposed from shot to shot, causing the name of the typewriter to appear differently. This is made clear by looking closely at the telephone on the desk and the clipboard on the wall behind Mitchell's secretary, again, which both have been transposed in the two shots noted. See more »

Quotes

Reginald J. Mitchell: [after disclosing his illness] I'm going on with my work because, as you said, it is important. At least we believe it's important, and we must live what we believe, musn't we?
Diana Mitchell: [Realizing the extent of his illness] Live?
Reginald J. Mitchell: Darling, we've all got to pack up some time or other. It isn't when we pack up that matters; it's what we do while we're here.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Zero Day September 15th, 1940 See more »

Alternate Versions

DVD Version. Extended scene when Mitchell and Crisp are attending a display of gliding in Germany and they speak with German officials about the role of gliders. DVD version has extra scene where a German Hitler Youth leader marches away from the display with a band playing. See more »

Connections

Featured in Leslie Howard: The Man Who Gave a Damn (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Der kleine Rekrut
(uncredited)
Music by Friedrich Wilhelm Kücken
Arranged by Roy Douglas
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the leading British propaganda films
9 August 2003 | by occupant-1See all my reviews

and probably on a par with the "Miniver" pictures. Covers not only the Supermarine/Merlin work but the glider designs that the Germans used for airframe research before openly dumping the Versailles treaty.

(Note: I don't use the term "propaganda" in a demeaning sense here; it's just that I consider any ideological product that gets government backing to be propaganda, and this work fits the definition.)

Fine acting, acceptable plot movement for what is considered now a melodramatic period, historic moment - this film deserves multiple viewings.


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