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The Lion Has Wings

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The Lion Has Wings is a British war propaganda film released in 1939, directed by Adrian Brunel, Brian Desmond Hurst, and Michael Powell. The film was made before the outbreak of World War II but was released when the conflict broke out. The movie tells the story of how Britain would fight in the war and portrays the strength and might of the Royal Air Force.

The movie opens with a narration by Laurence Olivier (uncredited) about the history of aviation, starting from the days of Leonardo da Vinci. The film then advances to the contemporary period, where the world is on the brink of war. The plot follows three people: Geoffrey Mitchell (Ralph Richardson), a British inventor who creates a new type of bomb sight; his wife, Elizabeth (June Duprez), who works in a hospital; and Lady Pamela Carmichael (Merle Oberon), a reporter who is covering the war.

Lady Pamela travels to England and meets with the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force, played by Olivier. She proposes that she be allowed to report from the sky, flying with the pilots in action instead of just observing military operations from the ground. Her daring proposal is accepted, and she soon finds herself on a plane, flying over the English Channel and heading to Germany to observe their air capabilities. Her plane is spotted and attacked by German fighters, but the Royal Air Force comes to her rescue, and she safely returns to England with valuable intelligence about the German air force.

Meanwhile, Mitchell's invention is successfully tested, making bombing accuracy much more reliable. Knowing that his invention could be a game-changer in the war, Mitchell decides to present it to the government immediately. Elizabeth, his wife, travels with him to London to deliver the bomb sight, but their car is bombed, and Elizabeth is killed. Determined to deliver the bomb sight, Mitchell continues his journey by using the train.

Lady Pamela is on her way to meet Mitchell when her train is bombed by the Germans. She is shocked and scared but is determined to complete her mission. The film then shows the RAF in action, dealing blow after blow to the German air force. Lady Pamela eventually meets with Mitchell, they deliver the bomb sight to the government, and the movie ends with a shot of the British planes taking off and flying towards the enemy.

The Lion Has Wings is primarily a propaganda film that aimed to raise the morale of the British people during the war. At the time, the Royal Air Force was vastly outnumbered by the German Luftwaffe, and the movie intended to demonstrate the fighting spirit of the British people and their courage in the face of adversity. The film is notable for its use of actual footage from the war and special effects that were impressive for the time of its release.

In terms of acting, the performances are serviceable, but not something to write home about. Merle Oberon stands out as Lady Pamela, bringing a sense of energy, determination, and bravery to her character. Ralph Richardson's character, Geoffrey, is more reserved and introverted, but his story arc gives him the opportunity to showcase his versatility as an actor. June Duprez's character, Elizabeth, is not given much to do, and her character comes across as a plot device.

Overall, The Lion Has Wings is a well-made and entertaining war propaganda film that portrays the bravery of the British people and their fighting spirit during the war. The use of actual war footage and special effects elevate the movie's quality and make it a must-watch for anyone interested in World War II history.

The Lion Has Wings is a Documentary, War movie released in 1939. It has a runtime of 76 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 5.7..

Adrian Brunel, Brian Desmond Hurst
Merle Oberon, Ralph Richardson, June Duprez
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