The Battle Foretold: The Lion Has Wings (1939)

S. P. MacKenzie

in The Battle of Britain on Screen

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780748623891
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651276 | DOI:
The Battle Foretold: The Lion Has Wings (1939)

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As well as being a central feature of the popular mythology that grew up around World War II, the Battle of Britain must rank among the most widely anticipated events of the twentieth century. Anyone who remained unaware of what aerial warfare was thought to mean would have been rapidly educated if they had seen Things to Come, written by H. G. Wells and brought to the screen by London Films mogul Alexander Korda in early 1936. Korda also negotiated with the Air Ministry before the outbreak of war about making a film in which the strength of the Royal Air Force resulting from various recent expansion schemes would be showcased. By the time an agreement was reached on September 1, 1939, war with Germany was a virtual certainty. Korda immediately set about creating what would soon be titled The Lion Has Wings, a feature film that would contain a message diametrically opposite to that of Things to Come. The Lion Has Wings succeeded in counteracting the earlier sense that a Battle of Britain would be catastrophic in nature.

Keywords: World War II; Battle of Britain; Alexander Korda; aerial warfare; Things to Come; Lion Has Wings; Germany; Royal Air Force

Chapter.  6943 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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