The time period of this film is the late 1920’s. R.J. Mitchell is an aircraft designer. He has won many trophies for his designs of monoplanes. He goes on a holiday to Germany after the recent selection of Adolf Hitler as the head of the German Workers Party propaganda effort. Mitchell mulls over the idea to design a completely new type of fighter plane. He feels Britain’s very survival may depend on this plane if Germany goes to war. Mitchell worked tirelessly to finish his design as fast a possible. He set aside concerns for his own ailing health from cancer to push forward.
Some liberties are taken with historical accuracy in this film. Mitchell was up against a lot of drawbacks in designing this new type of plane. There were a lot of requirements that hadn’t been met before. It had to be able to do a lot and defeat any German plane in the sky. Leslie Howard plays Mitchell and he was in Portugal on a non-governmental mission after filming. German intelligence agents targeted him and Luftwaffe fighters attacked the civilian airplane flying him home. The plane was shot down with no survivors. He wasn’t able to see the release of this film. 3 ½* (I liked this movie)
90 min, Adventure, Bio directed by Leslie Howard with Leslie Howard, David Niven, Rosamund John, Roland Culver, Anne Firth, David Horne, J.H. Roberts, Derrick De Marney, Rosalyn Boulter, Herbert Cameron.
Note: Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 64% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.2* out of 5* with 237 reviews.
Special Note: Filmed at D&P Studios, Denham Studios, Denham, Buckinghamshire and Polperro, Cornwall, England, UK. Also, filmed at Ibsley, a former RAF base in Hampshire. Filming didn’t stop because of war. Real RAF airmen are featured, they would break for missions and begin again after fighting. There is a mistake during a test flight of the Spitfire. The canopy shown is called a Malcolm Hood and was not used on the early model. Titled The First of the Few on Rotten Tomatoes.