Review

  • This black and white early 50s movie shows crusty Britain at its stiff upper lip best. It is the story of mans obsession with speed, and a ruthless plane makers ambition to succeed in building a supersonic jet. Richardson plays the tycoon whose dream kills his son and son-in-law, but who finally sees the error of his ways and whose daughter returns to the cold family home with his grandson.

    The film is also a vehicle to show the world Britain's proud lead in jet technology. There is a classic sequence in the film where the happy daughter and son-in-law deliver a De Havilland Vampire jet fighter to Egypt. They set off at breakfast time in England and hurtle over the English Channel, the Alps, Ancient Greece and the Pyramids before arriving in at the airfield. Of course we take this for granted now, but 47 years ago this was unheard of. The director contrasts the old ruins and remains of our ancient ancestors with the marvel of the modern age: the jet plane.

    The film also introduced THE marvel of the early fifties, the De Havilland Comet jet liner. This beautiful but flawed machine was in service SIX years before any other jet liner and for a while, the world rushed to De Havillands, and Britains door. For two years the worldwide fleet gave the travelling of the future.

    In every other way this is an eccentrically English film with creaky old houses, cottages with roses around the door and eccentric engineers. Shout in glorious black and white it conveys a sense of wonder and optimism in the future, whilst being thoroughly old fashioned