The Lion Has Wings (1939)

  |  Drama, War


The Lion Has Wings (1939) Poster

Alexander Korda's bit for the British war effort shows the world both at peace and on the verge of Nazi domination. Spliced together to form a documentary-style movie of both newsreel and ... See full summary »


5.7/10
587

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


27 October 2004 | lorenellroy
A genuine curiosity
This is by no means a good movie but it does have substantial curiosity value being the first British movie to be wholly completed after the start of the Second World War .It was completed in 5 weeks and released to cinemas in November 1939 . Costing just £ 30,000 it was financed by its producer ,the renowned Alexander Korda , cashing in his life insurance policy and is a flag waving slice of patriotism aimed at stiffening British resolve in the early days of the war .It was shot in 12 days and is a curious hybrid of a picture .

It opens with an illustrated lecture ,delivered by the newsreel commentator ,E V H Emmett charting the rise of Nazism and contrasting the militaristic stance of Germany with the more sporting and pacifist pursuits of the British .This is simple stuff but true -and those morons carping at action in Iraq would be well advised to study this period of history to learn (always assuming their blinkered minds are capable of learning ) what appeasement leads to .

It makes copious use of footage from the Elizabethan themed Fire Over England ,with Flora Robson as Queen Bess rallying the troops before they sailed out to deal with the Spanish Armada . Its main theme is the contrast between militarism and the virtues it deems England stands for -virtues articulated by Merle Oberon in a scene with Ralph Richardson " We must keep our land ,darling ..we must keep our freedom .We must fight for the things we believe in ...Truth and Beauty ..and Kindness "

One especially compelling piece of documentary footage contrasts the bombastic Nuremeberg rallies with shots of the shy and diffident King George at a Boy Scout rally singing "Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree"

The staged scenes of the attack on the Kiel canal are a bit phoney but overall the movie does a neat job of pointing out the contrast between militarism and democracy

The emphasis is too socially restricted with scenes of English life being confined to suburbia and the landed gentry but as a social document this has value .As a movie drama it is negligible

Critic Reviews


Details

Release Date:

19 January 1940

Language

English, German


Country of Origin

UK

Filming Locations

Berlin, Germany

Box Office

Budget:

GBP30,000 (estimated)

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