The leader of a British squadron during World War Two worries if he will ever reach 90 operations.
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Overlooked by many because of its attempts in some way to cast a shadow against “The Dam Busters”, this movie starring those stalwarts of British cinema that is Dirk Bogarde and Dinah Sheridan perhaps offer a more realistic version of a Wing Commander during World War Two than other film made about the period.
Wing-Commander Tim Mason (Bogarde) is your typical, gun-ho leader. Admired by his men and desired by the female crew members, it is stated that he has completed near on 90 operations; a feat in itself as many failed to reach the 30 mark. Overworked on nightly attacks on Nazi Germany, he is close to breaking point but doesn’t want to let his men down so he continues to fly. Along this somewhat callous but certainly heroic approach to flying he meets Eve (Sheridan), a highly ranked woman in the British Navy, and soon they fall in love. Word gets around that Tim is tired, and is soon dropped from flying duties. Pissed off to say the least, he is determined to make the 90 mark but will he ever do so?
The actors and actresses themselves too impress mightily. Bogarde, that multi-talented actor who performed so gallantly on the silver screen for near on fifty years, delivers here a role which demonstrates his acting skills to their best; the heroic leader and the personality behind the character. It is quite the mark of a fine actor who is able to switch between these two personalities so well, in particular when discussing his fears to Eve about what is to happen if he tries to make the 90 Operation mark.
Sheridan too is quite the thespian catch here. In a role here which outranks some of the men on screen, it is refreshing to see an actress in a British 1950’s film which is both powerful and who could court martial her male counterparts if it took her fancy. Below this exterior though lies a woman of needs, and hey presto long before it she’s flirting with the men like an alley cat on heat. Not to be detrimental to Sheridan, but it does seem a bit pathetic for her character to flutter her eyelashes at any man that passes by her. But hey-ho, the fault there lies within the scriptwriters and not Sheridan but at least her role as Eve was a step in the right direction for acting equality. Over the duration of their careers, both Bogarde and Sheridan were given roles that best showed their talents, with “Victim” being Bogarde’s best and “Genevieve” as Sheridan’s finest. The depiction of war seems a tad too real here, which must have daunted some cinema goers at the time, but ignore those idiots and see this film for yourself; it really is a cracker of a movie.