15 June 2007 | pawebster
Not "Chariots of Fire 2", but not bad
This TV production has a good story to tell, and a good cast to tell it. It is packed with talented actors. Adrian Rawlins is excellent as Chris Chataway and looks quite like him, too. Robert Burbage (Whatever happened to this actor?) is also good as Chris Brasher. Nique Needles practically steals the film as Landy.
I'm very unsure about Richard Huw. There are two problems. One is that he does not seem like an athlete (unlike Landy and Santee) and the other is that, as so often in his roles, he appears simply too glum for much of the time. (See the 2005 version, Four Minutes, for a much happier portrayal of Roger Bannister).
The film is very handicapped by its low-budget approach to the topic of running and running tracks. In places it resorts to closeups and poor-quality newsreel footage to get round its limitations as best it can.
One extreme example of this cheapness is when Landy stands admiring the running track in Helsinki - supposedly much better than those in Australia. Does the camera show this great track? Forget it. All we see is a shot of the ground at Landy's feet.
It is a big shame that the makers could not even properly reconstruct what should have been the key event of the film: Bannister's four-minute mile. Note the scene in the changing room with Bannister, Chataway and Brasher. While Roger is complaining that it's too blowy, we never see any sign at all of windy weather. Then they look out of the window and we see the flag on the tower of Iffley church hanging limply, whereupon they declare that the wind has dropped. But we never saw the flag do anything else but hang limply!
The film-makers, incredibly, put far more effort into filming Landy becoming the SECOND man to run the four-minute mile a few weeks after Bannister's achievement. For that they engaged a large number of extras to populate the grandstand and showed practically the whole race.The scriptwriter was an Australian...
Despite the cheapness when it comes to the actual running alluded to in the title of the film, a lot of money seems to have been wasted showing us a platform and train at Paddington Station in the fifties and a period airliner painted with the words Finnish Airlines.
There is also some bad dialogue - the corny type in which characters lecture each other with information they undoubtedly already know, for the benefit of the viewers.
However, despite its serious faults, it is well worth seeing - as is the newer version "Four Minutes".