Book

The Battle of Britain on Screen

S.P. Mackenzie

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780748623891
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651276 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623891.001.0001
The Battle of Britain on Screen

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This book examines the origins, development and reception of the major dramatic screen representations of ‘The Few’ in the Battle of Britain produced over the past seventy years. It explores both continuity and change of presentation in relation to a wartime event that acquired near-mythical dimensions in popular consciousness even before it happened, and which has been represented multiple times over the course of the past seven decades. Alongside technical developments, considerable social, cultural and political fluctuation (as well as an expansion of factual knowledge concerning the battle itself) occurred in this period, all of which helped to shape how the battle came to be framed at particular junctures. The ways in which the Battle of Britain was being represented in other fictional forms, as well as in histories and commemorations, form part of the context in which screen representations are explored. Films discussed in detail include The Lion Has Wings, First of the Few, Angels One Five, Reach for the Sky and Battle of Britain, along with the television productions Piece of Cake and A Perfect Hero. Foreign productions, such as A Yank in the RAF and Dark Blue World, as well as abandoned projects and dramas in which ‘The Few’ feature in a more tangential fashion, are also mentioned in context. The emphasis throughout is on production issues and the extent to which these screen dramas reflected or influenced popular understanding of 1940.

Keywords: Battle of Britain; The Few; Second World War; RAF; technical developments; social fluctuation; cultural fluctuation; political fluctuation; production issues; screen dramas

Book.  192 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Battle of Britain on Screen

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The Battle Foretold: The Lion Has Wings (1939) in The Battle of Britain on Screen

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Spitfire of Dreams: The First of the Few (1942) in The Battle of Britain on Screen

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One for All: Angels One Five (1952) in The Battle of Britain on Screen

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All for One: Reach for the Sky (1956) in The Battle of Britain on Screen

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The Big Picture: The Battle of Britain (1969) in The Battle of Britain on Screen

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Catalogue of Error: Piece of Cake (1988) in The Battle of Britain on Screen

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The Fighter Boys: A Perfect Hero (1991) in The Battle of Britain on Screen

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Conclusion in The Battle of Britain on Screen

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