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Battle of Britain
- favourite film

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” And perhaps never before or since has such a starry cast been assembled in a British movie: Laurence Olivier ; Trevor Howard ; Michael Caine ; Ralph Richardson ; Ian McShane ; Michael Redgrave ; Kenneth More ; Susannah York (oh! those stockings!); Robert Shaw ; Edward Fox ; Christopher Plummer... But even that cast was outshone by the planes, which unlike the occasionally clunkily patriotic script were never less than swift and graceful. Indeed the most memorable moment from the film is surely the almost dreamy sequence where aerial combat takes place without any accompaniment but William Walton ’s The Battle in the Air. That was the sole part of Walton’s score retained for the film, as not only was it too short but also below par for a great composer. The rather unsung talent of Ron Goodwin produced the rest of the musical backdrop, penning some fine tunes including the Aces High March. When the film was released in 1969 the Nazi threat had ended less than 25 years previously. That era has lost some resonance as we progress through the 21st century; but the Battle of Britain is a worthy watch to give a flavour of the times, and remind us of how those who saved Britain in its ‘finest hour’ were often just boys of 18 and 19, most of whom did not live to see 20.

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1: Oliver!
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The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself. - Richard Burton
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