174. Reach For the Sky (1956)

Film 74 in C4 Top 100 War Films

Ok – one of the films from the war project that I was really not looking forward to. I can’t stand Kenneth More, however hard I try not to. He’s everything I despise about actors of that generation, but I should put my dislike aside and concentrate on the film…

More plays Douglas Bader, a man who loses his legs during the years between the Wars after a forbidden stunt in an aeroplane goes horribly wrong. He is retired out of the RAF, but with the outbreak of World War II, he is commissioned to fly again against the Germans.

Bader was by all accounts a cocky man with rather imperialist political views – Kenneth More plays him  like a genteel Englishman who is a charming daredevil rather than annoying and infuriating as I’d imagine the real Bader would have been. It’s a bit twee, I’m afraid, and so terribly British. The flying scenes are good, but it still feels a bit insubstantial – which I doubt very much is what the real story was like.


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