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The Battle of Britain on Screen'The Few' in British Film and Television Drama$
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S.P. Mackenzie

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748623891

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623891.001.0001

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The Battle Foretold: The Lion Has Wings (1939)

The Battle Foretold: The Lion Has Wings (1939)

(p.7) 1 The Battle Foretold: The Lion Has Wings (1939)
The Battle of Britain on Screen

S. P. MacKenzie

Edinburgh University Press

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

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