HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Dam Busters, The Target For TonightBuy this film here.
Year: 1955
Director: Michael Anderson
Stars: Richard Todd, Michael Redgrave, Ursula Jeans, Charles Carson, Stanley Van Beers, Colin Tapley, Raymond Huntley, Hugh Manning, Patrick Barr, Basil Sydney, Ernest Clark, Derek Farr, Laurence Naismith, Nigel Stock, Robert Shaw, Bill Kerr, George Baker
Genre: War
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1942 and British scientist Barnes Wallis (Michael Redgrave) is testing out new theories and equipment in his back garden in the countryside. His children are helping him, and the local doctor has been called to attend to his daughter who is suffering from the effects of a throat infection, but once Wallis's wife (Ursula Jeans) is alone with the doctor, she tells him what she actually called him out for is to check on her husband. He has been working day and night with hardly a break as his contribution to the war effort is so important, and she worries for his health, but Wallis has hit upon an idea so innovative that it will be taking up all his time...

As Eric Coates' patriotic march introduces it, Brits of a certain age feel a swell of pride when watching The Dam Busters, a tale of real life British pluck in the face of the Nazi war machine. No matter that the actual effect of the raid on the Ruhr dam was far less damaging to the Nazis than they might have hoped, the fact that it was attempted at all, and to an extent succeeded, was enough to make for great cinematic drama. Starring in this was one of the most popular film stars in the country, Richard Todd, who played the bomber squadron leader Guy Gibson; Todd had proved his worth to the public by appearing in a number of war movies, and so was the ideal choice.

That Gibson had died eighteen months after the events depicted in the film only made the story more poignant, and must have been in the minds of the British audiences at the time, as the Second World War was all too fresh in the memories of the nation, then struggling under austerity that meant a boost to the people's morale was precisely what was needed, hence so many war movies were made. The Dam Busters was considered by many to be one of the best of them, and for some it was the greatest of the era, but watching it now modern audiences may have found they needed a measure of patience for a film which took its time in setting up the story it told.

For much of the first half hour we follow Wallis and his battles with the bureaucrats as his idea to hamper the Nazis by destroying three dams with his "bouncing bomb" is met with polite scepticism. But don't be fooled, as the human cost of the conflict is not being ignored, it is being carefully built up in the minds of the audience in the background, so that the science that went into creating all that death and destruction is not existing in a vacuum. Non-Brits may well baulk at the fact that not one German character appears for the whole two hours, so that all those civilians killed in the raid seem to have been neglected by the filmmakers, but this is not to say that the results here were heartless, it's more to do with the audience they had considered as they made it.

Other things date the piece as well, most notoriously the name of Gibson's dog which becomes a code word during the mission; essentially the dreaded n-word is used here more often than your average Wu Tang Clan album, though not as a pejorative, as the pilot really did name his beloved dog that. All the way through you might be of the opinion that this is a dry relating of the facts, with only two bursts of emotion: one of raucous good humour as the squadron larks about in the barracks, and the other because of what happens to the pooch on the eve of the raid, yet even then these have the sense of stiff upper lips being held in check. It's only at the close of the film, after a tense rendering of the bombing that was effectively lifted almost whole for the climax of Star Wars, that the emotion catches up with the events, and many have been known to wipe away a tear in the final moments as the loss of life hits them. For all the reservations it might elicit now, The Dam Busters was masterful storytelling.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2060 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: