HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Beats
Body Parts
Shock of the Future, The
Friday
High Life
High Noon
Comes a Horseman
Scandal in Paris, A
Greta
Fight, The
Pink Jungle, The
Skiptrace
Double Date
Mind of Mr. Soames, The
Long Shot
Sherlock Holmes
Amazing Grace
Monitors, The
Memory: The Origins of Alien
Mesa of Lost Women
Banana Splits Movie, The
In Fabric
Sisters Brothers, The
Aniara
Flamingo Kid, The
Queen, The
Avengers: Endgame
Vanishing Act
Critters Attack!
Prison on Fire
Dragged Across Concrete
Do the Right Thing
Hellboy
Pond Life
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The
Third Wife, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
   
 
  Sound Barrier, The Fly Too HighBuy this film here.
Year: 1952
Director: David Lean
Stars: Ralph Richardson, Ann Todd, Nigel Patrick, John Justin, Dinah Sheridan, Joseph Tomelty, Denholm Elliott, Jack Allen, Ralph Michael, Leslie Phillips
Genre: Drama, Adventure
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: During World War II, pilot Philip Peel (John Justin) was flying his spitfire over the White Cliffs of Dover when he decided to see how fast he could go; it was a very swift aircraft, and as he went into a dive he almost lost control of his plane, noting he nearly was forced to push the joystick in the opposite direction to that which his instincts had told him, all to get his bearings once again and right the machine. But once the war was over, the research into manned flight continued apace, as the next big achievement was to travel faster than the speed of sound, something that had thus far eluded the pilots and designers alike. The aerospace company led by John Ridgefield (Ralph Richardson) was at the forefront of this technology...

Except it was not, as there was no such company, in director David Lean's presentation of creating a scientific and human milestone. If ever there was proof that bad history did not necessarily make bad films, it was The Sound Barrier, which though based on the endeavours of the United Kingdom's lauded De Havilland family, the people at the forefront of such investigations that knew tragedy as well as triumph, was more or less made up. The actual breaker of the barrier was the legendary American pilot Chuck Yeager, who already had a grudge against the Brits for perceived slights in how they treated him when he was stationed there as a pilot; you can imagine how he felt when this hit movie claimed his success as their own.

In truth, Lean and his team were not aware that Yeager had made this breakthrough until they were halfway through production as it was still top secret at the time, but ploughed ahead anyway as they reasoned this was not a documentary they were crafting, and the film was more than a dry historical tract from recent headlines. Certainly Lean made sure to include the newspaper report of pilot Geoffrey De Havilland's fatal accident, where it was rumoured he managed to travel faster than the speed of sound before he died in the process, since that was what had spurred his imagination to make the film in the first place, but anything American was never mentioned. There could have been a simple motive for that, however.

Which was Britain was leading the way in flight technology, and in the nation's popular imagination it had replaced the endeavours and heroics of the war as a subject they could all get behind; no longer did little boys dream of being a steam train driver, they wanted to be pilots for, as the film points out, the sky would be the limit. Go faster than sound and you could use jets to travel around the planet at incredible velocity, then you could eventually escape the gravity and proceed into orbit, then the moon, then the rest of the solar system and beyond; the possibilities for exploration were quickly turning into a matter of tremendous excitement, and it was all here in this tale, ably scripted by noted playwright of the day Terence Rattigan. Yet along with that anticipation, there was danger as well, as exemplified by the character of Ridgefield's daughter, Susan (Ann Todd, Lean's wife at the time).

Susan is the worrier, the one who sees this research as fraught with potentially deadly peril, and little wonder when early in the movie she sees her brother (Denholm Elliott) die in a fiery plane crash. This haunts the rest of the story, and even comes back stronger than ever for Susan, that in spite of her pilot husband Tony Garthwaite (Nigel Patrick, the picture of urbanity as ever) taking her on a trip to Cairo with him in his aircraft where the pay a visit to Philip and his family (including wife Dinah Sheridan) and setting him thinking that he could return to Britain and resume his duties as a test pilot himself, thus setting up a remarkably tense final act. The point was that dream was very close to delusion, and one man's vision for a better world is another man's nightmare of unnecessary tragedy; this resonated throughout every scene Richardson was in, and he made sure to stamp his character's unyielding personality on every scene, even those he was not appearing in. Yes, everyone was terribly posh and polite, but the compassion the film felt for them all was genuinely affecting, whether they were correct in their drive to succeed or not, so forget the real story for a couple of hours and appreciate this meditation on what that meant. Music by Malcolm Arnold.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1493 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Derrick Smith
   

 

Last Updated: