MovieChat Forums > Battle of Britainย (1969) Discussion > THE MORE I SEE IT I THINK IT IS A FLAWED...

THE MORE I SEE IT I THINK IT IS A FLAWED MASTERPIECE.


I have seen this film so many times since I first saw it on the big screen as an 10 year old.

I have always felt it was flawed with some great scenes,but the more I watch it the less critical I become.

Some of the ground based scenes go on a bit but we can't have flying action all the time.

People are critical of the blitz scene but I think it is pretty good,the old gent whose favourite pub is bombed always makes me smile.

The film fits a lot into its running time and it has a great cast.

I can't believe that REX HARRISON was meant to play the part played by TREVOR HOWARD,imagine a British war film without TREVOR HOWARD.

The film is better than its reputation suggests.

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Agree with you; it's one of the better non-cgi aerial combat movies ever made.

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There's some excellent flying in it and some superb aerial footage. There must be hours of out-takes as footage keeps showing up on docus about the Battle Of Britain, the Spitfire, etc and some is so good it's surprising it didn't make it into the final movie.

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Don't forget the footage that showed up on MIDWAY. ๎€“

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Well, you gotta admit a Hispano Buchon is a dead ringer for a Zero, DD. And it's really hard to tell a Spitfire apart from a Hellcat.
Seriously though, I wish they'd put all the extra footage on a DVD- I'd buy it!

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Susannah York in stockings.... I rest my case.

That is all.

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Wonder if there's any extra footage of that?๎€ 

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There were no Hellcats at Midway either, Hotrodder, but what the hell. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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They were Wildcats I take it? Bugger.
Anyway in a documentary about the Battle Of Britain called Fighting The Blue they even had footage of the Proctuka flying- a Percival Proctor converted to resemble a Stuka- they weren't used in the final movie though, they used R/C models for the Stuka attack instead.
Incidentally if you've ever wondered why the models are of the later "D" version rather than the correct "B" type it's because they intended to get the Stuka belonging to the RAF airworthy for the movie. Apparently the engine was run but it was never flown.
Some info on the Proctuka here- and a pic:
http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?22675-Proctuka

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Yep, Wildcats. Hellcats didn't make it into service until a year later, in 1943. Ironically, though, I'm pretty sure some of the aerial footage in MIDWAY is of actual Hellcats, including the climactic flight deck crash at the end that kills Charlton Heston's character.

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Not just Hellcats, Avengers, Helldivers, and Corsairs, but somewhat notoriously, of at least one F9F Panther jet fighter. In some cases, a pilot would take off in one aircraft and switch to another before landing.

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The film is generally faithful to events and I agree with you that ...

... The film fits a lot into its running time and it has a great cast.
They really don't make them like this anymore and I'm surprised it tanked so badly on release. Considering the Brits put up all the money, the film is remarkably even-handed towards both sides. ๐Ÿญ

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Saw it on DVD the other night. Didn't grab my interest the way A Bridge Too Far did which I also viewed recently (going through a WWII phase here in movie watching). It seemed to be a good walk through of events but it seemed the air war over England lasted only a few days. Is that right? I thought the London bombings were over an extended period but the movie left me with the impression it was a day or two.

I think it also suffered from too many characters. No one had enough screen time for me to develop interest in. Kind of ironic to have a movie with too many characters about a battle where the problem was too few pilots. (Yes, I know not every character in the movie was a pilot.)

For me the aerial combat was not that interesting. For me it was a series of long range shots, cut to close ups of the planes, then close ups of the pilots, blood in the cockpit then long range shot of plane plummeting or exploding. On the close ups I couldn't tell if they were British or German pilots. But that's on me. The same with the long and midrange shots of the planes, had to look for the circles or crosses on the wings for ID. Those who are into this sort of thing I'm sure had no problem, like the kids in the water identifying the enemy planes. But I think the general public would have the same problems I had thus the poor reception at the box office.

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Didn't grab my interest the way A Bridge Too Far did ...

I think it also suffered from too many characters. No one had enough screen time for me to develop interest in.
And you don't think A Bridge Too Far (which I also liked a lot) had too many characters? Take a gander at the cast list my friend.

Neither is a masterpiece and both have flaws, but like I said, they don't make'em like this anymore ... at least not without mega amounts of CGI.๐Ÿญ

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I personally think the flying sequences are the finest ever shot for a war movie- there was some wonderful flying from the pilots- a mixture of British, American and Spanish.
Tricky to pack something the scope and breadth of the BoB story into a few hours but I think they did a pretty good job.

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A Bridge Too Far did have a lot of characters but I suppose did something else that grabbed my interest. A number to characters, to me, stand out in ABTF: The Sean Connery and Anthony Hopkins characters. For me there were no stand out characters in TBB.

Perhaps in AFTF there was, for me, a more interesting goal: to secure a number of bridges. The movie showed a mixture of success and failure and shed some light on how and why.

In TBB the goal was to stop the German air offensive. It came on the day they looked up and saw no German planes. To me not that dramatic. (I've already stated my problem with the air combat scenes).

To me Twelve O'clock High was more a more interesting movie that TBB. Dealt with the same material but told a better story.

Don't want to start an argument, just giving my thought on the movies.

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In TBB the goal was to stop the German air offensive. It came on the day they looked up and saw no German planes. To me not that dramatic.

The anticlimax in BoB was very deliberate. The RAF had been fighting for weeks without much rest then the Germans gave up. They stopped coming. The RAF had won, didn't realise it straight away and it wasn't some sort of dramatic conclusion as such. In real life the Germans did still mount operations but the massed formations in daylight were over with.
Twelve O'Clock High is a fictional tale (based on the 8th Air Force's offensive of course), the BoB wasn't- while fictionalised it is generally true to the facts. Real life often doesn't have a definite beginning, middle bit and ending and unlike fiction doesn't always go for the big overwhelming climax but draws instead to a shuddering halt or just fizzles out like a damp squib.

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Interesting comments.

Of course my comments were about the movies and how interesting they were to me. I don't necessarily want movies to be like real life. I'm looking for entertainment when I watch a movie. If I want real life I just go out an live it.

Having said that I do recognize the very real heroic actions and sacrifices made by the RAF and the British people and their leaders during the Battle of Britain. Evil could have had its way except for courageous folks who said not for us and not for our children.

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I don't know how old you are, Jim, but I think it may be something to do with the fact that films like Jaws and Raiders Of The Lost Ark rather set a paradigm for the modern blockbuster movie. And now most people expect that paradigm.
Thus, most movies start with an action setpiece, then a exposition section, then one or more action setpieces interspersed with more exposition followed by the big climactic action set piece. It's a formula pretty much rigidly stuck to now. However in the days of BoB it wasn't. A Bridge Too Far One is another example, the ending isn't a thrilling piece of frenetic action but rather an air of subdued sadness as the operation has failed in its objectives. A big climactic battle actually isn't necessary to make a memorable or moving ending IMO. The ending of ABTF with the wounded soldiers singing Abide With Me is far more
affecting to me than, say, Fury's nonsensical Alamo ending.

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I'm old enough to be retired so I free time to watch movies then discuss them on IMDB.

I'm not terribly interested in action sequences in movies. I'm more interested in characters, dialogue and plot. I like historical movies but am not disturbed by minor historical anachronisms like somewhere on these boards some one complained that the Hitler salute wasn't given till later in the war.

I assume the plot of TBB was generally true to history as was the plot of ABTF. But, for me, ABTF excels in exploring the inner personalities of the characters. Plus there was more tension between characters as to the best way to accomplish the mission.

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Some of the characters were based on real people, albeit loosely- Robert Shaw's Skipper on Sailor Malan, Falke on Adolph Galland, etc. Only the "higher ups" such as Dowding and Goering were to represent the real people. There was a decision made at some point that the RAF squadrons were to be representative and so used fictional markings such as the code letters, the same with the Me109 and Heinkel III squadrons.
It would be good to see some more decent WW2 aviation movies- but not like the abortion that was Pearl Harbor though!
There was a TV series being mooted about the 8th Air Force but I haven't heard anything recently about it, nor about Peter Jackson's Dambusters remake which was put on hold.

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There was a TV series being mooted about the 8th Air Force but I haven't heard anything recently about it


More like a miniseries like 'The Pacific' and 'Band of Brothers'; I too am looking forward to it, if & when it arrives.




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A number to characters, to me, stand out in ABTF: The Sean Connery and Anthony Hopkins characters. For me there were no stand out characters in TBB.
I'd probably agree with that too to a certain degree. Some of the British characters in particular were rather memorable in ABTF (Connery, Caine, Fox, Hopkins, Bogarde). For me, I remember Ralph Richardson and Curt Jurgens standing out in the BOB, but I don't think their characters played a major part in proceedings.
To me Twelve O'clock High was more a more interesting movie that TBB.
Whilst a very fine film, I don't even think of 12OCH on the same plane, so to speak. It's more of a fictional story for me, whilst BOB does a pretty good job IMO. of summarising the extended historical battle whilst adding in some of the usual sort of fictional elements.๐Ÿญ

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TBH, Spooky, when I look at BoB I don't really see how they could have done a better job of it for the most part. Only the marriage problems between Plummer and York's characters fails to convince IMO.

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Only the marriage problems between Plummer and York's characters fails to convince IMO.
Agreed. I know why they put it in, but it was the weakest part of the movie for me.๐Ÿญ

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I agree with Caine and Bogarde as well. The Richardson - Jurgens exchange at the beginning of the movie was good, but then they never came back.

I mentioned 12OC not as a historical reenactment, I knew it was fiction based in a historical setting, but as a movie that dealt with the air force and air combat that held my interest.

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Isn't Trevor Howard playing Keith Park, a New Zealander?

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Yes he was, and with Hugh Dowding (a Scot), both of whom I would have statues to on that vacant plinth at Trafalgar Square. And I speak as an Englishman. Okay, half English anyway.

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It's flawed mainly by the Plummer/York romance scenes, but is saved by the other strong ground and headquarters scenes, and the greatest aerial combat ever filmed, far surpassing anything that has ever been done with CGI.

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