Fictionalized story of British aerospace engineers solving the problem of supersonic flight.Fictionalized story of British aerospace engineers solving the problem of supersonic flight.Fictionalized story of British aerospace engineers solving the problem of supersonic flight.
Intelligent and informative film, despite some limitations
I first watched THE SOUND BARRIER on TV in 1975, and liked it immensely, finding it both informative and intelligent in its presentation- It keeps the viewer interested to the end, no doubt because David Lean's direction is very good, at times even inspired, and it is helped by extremely competent cinematography and a credible screenplay. Sir Ralph Richardson is superb as JR, a man obsessed with building ever better aircraft in competition with de Havilland and other companies, to the point of driving his son (well played by Denholm Eliott) and his son in law (Nigel Patrick) to their deaths. I also liked John Justin as the pilot who finally breaks the sound barrier. Ann Todd, who was married to David Lean at the time, somehow does not seem right for the part. I would have liked to see Vivien Leigh or Kay Walsh in that part, as both conveyed their emotions more readily and in greater depth. The technical aspects are succintly but clearly presented, and the discussion about the telescope and how what you see there is from 700,000 light years, and more, ago, certainly makes me realize my insignificance, every time I see THE SOUND BARRIER. David Lean had just come from making three masterpieces. BRIEF ENCOUNTER, GREAT EXPECTATIONS and OLIVER TWIST, and this is a transitional film, which already carries some signs of the epic that would emerge with the superlative THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, and be continued with LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, DR ZHIVAGO, RYAN'S DAUGHTER and, just before his death, PASSAGE TO INDIA. Recommended. 7/10
- Jul 9, 2018
Contribute to this page
Suggest an edit or add missing content