It was the largely the fear of the Luftwaffe that allowed Hitler to bully the Allies in the years leading up to World War II. And indeed the Luftwaffe played a major role in the successes achived in Poland, Norwat]y and France. It was in the Summer of 1940 that Britain alone and without allies took on that might of Hitler's vaunted Luftwaffe in the skies over Britain. The outcome of the Battle of Britain in many ways determined the outcome of World War II. There are several memorable scenes in this excellent film which vdery accurately (for a film) depicts the battle. During an air-raid sequence, three boys are seen standing in a very shallow part of the River Thames. They wearing only their underpants and arguing whether or not the German aircraft are Messerschmitts or Heinkels.Two other boys are briefly seen, each wearing dark blue slipovers. One of these boys wears a grey shirt, while the other a blue one. The latter is holding a yellow fishing net. In
another scene a British Flight Sergeant (Ian McShane) returns to his London home to see his wife and two sons. When he arrives at the street where they live, he is stopped by an air-raid warden and told that if he's looking for someone, then they will be in the church hall, which is where he finds his family. The elder boy wears a grey long sleeve V-necked pullover, dark shirt and light brrown, almost yellow shorts which are lined. His younger brother wears a dark green turtle-neck sweater, grey shorts and beige ankle socks. Both boys wear black shoes. Later McShane volunteers to go and look for a family trapped in a nearby street. On his way back from the rescue he is accompanied by a small boy who us wearing pyjamas and a dressing gown. Just as they are approaching the church hall, There is the sound of an explosion and the picture cuts to show the chuch hall in flames. During one of the many dog fight sequences in the film, a fighter pilot (Edward Fox) is seen parachuting from his aircraft. He lands in the garden of a semi-detached house and while he's
descending he is watched by a small boy of about 10 years who rushes into the house and returns moments later with a cigarette box and offers one to Fox. The boy is wearing a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a dark grey diagonally striped tie, grey worsted or Terylene shorts, grey turn-over-top socks and black shoes. However, the shorts seem to be more like those worn by boys in the late 1960s early 70s as they end around the middle of the boys thighs. They just don't seem right for the period the film was set in. The scene does, however. wonderfully reflect the pluck of the British as the fought Hitle alone in one of the decisive battles of the War.
It was the largely the fear of the Luftwaffe that allowed Hitler to bully the Allies in the years leading up to World War II, most notably at Munich. And indeed the Luftwaffe played a major role in the successes achived in Poland, Norway, the Low Countries, and France.
It was in the Summer of 1940 that Britain alone and without allies took on that might of Hitler's vaunted Luftwaffe in the skies over Britain. The outcome of the Battle of Britain in many ways determined the outcome of World War II.
The "Battle of Britain" is a surprisingly accurate depiction of the World War II battle. Many movies take outrageous liberties with the facts and justify it with the restrictions of a 2-hour format and the need for dramatic affect. This film is nothing like "Brave Heart" in which the Battle of Stirling Bridge is depicted with out the briidge which played a central roll in the battle. Rather like shooting the Battle of Britain and leaving out Spitfires or London. The "Battle of Britain" reasonably depicts the changes in Germany strategy that played a major role in their defeat. No less a participant than Winston Churchill pointed out that the Germans abandoned operations that were causing the British considerable problems. Churchill writes, "Three or four times in these months the enemy abandoned a method of attack which was causing us severe stress , and turned to something new." [Churchill, p. 341.] My principal cricism of the film was that that should have been a scene about the evacuation of children from the cities and another on the British aircraft industry which was at this staghe of the war chruning out high-performance fighters in substantial numbers. But these are really quibles. A porducer can only do so much in a single film. A reader adds, "There should have been a scene about evacuating the children or at least their return. The evacuation took place in September 1939 and it was
only in May 1940 that things got very aggressive. Thus parents long before then were asking for their children to be returned home.
The book 'Goodnight Mr. Tom makes this point. Tom is called home but his Jewish friend stays in the countryside only to return home in September 1940 where he is killed in a bombing raid. The point about the change of tactic civilian targets as apposed to military ones is made in the film by Air Marshall Downing (Trevor Howard)."
"The Battle of Britain" of course focuses on the personnel of the Luftwaffe and RAF. Note at this stage of the War, the Btitish were using women in non-combat roles. (Although not shown, this included the Princess Elizabeth.) The Germans had mot yet begun to extensively using women. There are several memorable scenes in this excellent film which very accurately (for a film) depicts the battle. Too often war films fail to portray the impact of the fighting on children and other civilians. The "Battle of Britain" does show how civilians, especially the children were affected. I think that one of the scenes with children is also one of the classic scenes in film making.
Churchill, Winston. Their Finest Hour (Houghton Mifflin: Boston, 1949), 751p.
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