Written by Terrance Rattigan, this early 1950s British aviation movie is long on human drama, but somewhat deficient in the area of technical expertise. The British were NOT the first to exceed the sound barrier, and the manner in which it is accomplished in the film is rubbish. Although Terrance Rattigan was among the very best writers of his day, in this particular instance the producers might have done better to have hired Nevil Shute ("No Highway in the Sky"), who was not only a first-rate writer but was also a genuine expert on aeronautics. That being said, under the expert direction of David Lean there's plenty of good, British stiff-upper-lippishness, provided by the likes of Ralph Richardson, Ann Todd, Nigel Patrick, Denholm Elliot and John Justin.
What makes the film even more interesting, however, at least to aviation buffs, is the presence of a variety of late 1940s British jet aircraft. Even more interesting is the fact that they are actually mentioned in the credits, as if they were members of the cast. In addition, it is worth mentioning that the aerial photography, although filmed in black-and-white, is quite excellent. Give this one a 7-out-of-10 for the aeronautical ironmongery and the flying scenes, and overlook the trite stuff on the ground.
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