Thursday, June 8, 2017

Castles in the Sky 2014

     The setting of this film is mid-1930 with changes beginning in Germany that will start WWII.  Robert Watson Watt is the pioneer of modern radar.  He has assembled a handpicked team of meteorologists and they are struggling to turn the idea of radar into a reality.  There are technical problems and their budget is too small.  They learn there is a spy among their group that is reporting their every success and failure.  The first working radar system is completed in 1940.  Along with code-breaking and spying, this was a big boost in the fight against Germany.
     Many historians believe that radar was the deciding factor in the Battle of Britain.  Radar made the invisible visible.  Working on this project was very top secret and the British did not want a leak of their efforts to get back to Germany.  Surprisingly, the original ideas were developed in Germany but not pursued.  The British coast was very vulnerable to attacks by the Luftwaffe.  The British flyers were understaffed, working long hours with fewer planes and many were being shot down.  The Luftwaffe outnumbered the RAF by three to one.  A lot of personal sacrifices were made by the team of scientists to continue on and on with this development.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

90 min, Bio directed by Gillies MacKinnon with Eddie Izzard, Laura Fraser, Arran Tulloch, Lesley Harcourt, Alex Jennings, David Hayman, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Karl Davies, Stephen Chance, Carl Heap Celyn Jones, Iain McKee.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 67% critic 55% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, The Telegraph 2 ½* out of 5*, Amazon 4.1* out of 5* with 94 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Hedderwick, Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland, UK.  There is mistake with the wiring colors.  In the scene of the first machine, the colors of the main cables are brown and blue.  At this time the colors should have been red for live and black for neutral.  A comment by Winston Churchill is used as the title of this film.  Churchill was initially skeptical about this project and he described it as castles in the sky.  He interviewed Watson-Watt and the radar system was explained as castles along the coast.  Churchill instructed Watson-Watt to build his castles in the sky.  There is a pre-WWII scene with a white van that is a Bedford KZ Spurling Ambulance but they were not manufactured until 1952.  The aircraft in the initial test is a de Havilland Rapide and it should be a Handley Page Heyford.  The film team had no choice, not a single Heyford survives.  There is another film with the title Castle in the Sky that is an animated film by Studio Ghibli.

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