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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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Spitfire of Dreams: The First of the Few (1942)

Spitfire of Dreams: The First of the Few (1942)

(p.23) 2 Spitfire of Dreams: The First of the Few (1942)
The Battle of Britain on Screen

S. P. MacKenzie

Edinburgh University Press

As soon as it was clear that the Luftwaffe had been comprehensively defeated in the daylight battles over England in August and September 1940, and the threat of invasion thereby averted, film companies began thinking about celebrating this singular victory on celluloid. For a number of reasons, though, it would take almost a year for a British feature film in which the Battle of Britain played a significant role to reach the screen; and almost two until audiences were able to judge the major effort by Leslie Howard to interpret the outcome of the battle with reference to the career of R. J. Mitchell, designer of the Spitfire. Neither the failure of such projects nor the insistence by the Air Ministry that Royal Air Force operations and security concerns took absolute precedence over the needs of film production companies dampened the spirits of those who thought feature films tackling the Battle of Britain would be successful. The First of the Few began production in August 1941 and was shown the following year.

Keywords:   Battle of Britain, R. J. Mitchell, Spitfire, Royal Air Force, First of Few, feature films, England, Leslie Howard

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