Angels One Five ‘Septic’ Baird has just joined a front line RAF squadron at the height of the Battle of Britain. This is the story of “The Few” and how they managed to fight off the might of the Luftwaffe despite overwhelming German air power.
Repeat viewer is captivated.
Bandits at twelve o’clock!
Angels One Five Typical fare for post-war British cinema-goers – stiff upper lips versus the might of the Nazi war machine.
Told over a few short weeks in 1940, the plot follows Pilot Officer ‘Septic’ Baird (John Gregson) as a fledgling Hurricane pilot posted to an operational squadron during the Battle of Britain. ‘Septic’ struggles stoically in the face of his boisterous comrades, an earnest would-be girlfriend and impossible numbers of enemy raiders. The Station Commander (Jack Hawkins) puts a human face on the RAF hierarchy, burdened by the knowledge that the fate of the nation really does depend on the skill of his young pilots. ‘The few’ eventually grasp victory but it doesn’t come cheap.
Admittedly wooden by today’s standards but, through films like this, a whole generation built up their Saturday afternoon understanding of the RAF’s ‘finest hour’.
A absolute war classic
I first saw this film over 40 years ago, as a young boy and was absolutely enthralled by it. I always watch it whenever the opportunity arises, and I still find it a very moving film.
By modern standards the special effects are not up to much, but the film cleverly gets around this by centering much of the action in the operations room, which helps to build up the tension and adds to the sense of desperation.
Touching little scenes, such as hanging out the light on landing, when the rest of the house has been reduced to a pile of rubble, help to capture the spirit of a nation which simply refused to be beaten.
The ending of the film is also very memorable, when the young pilot,who was is as keen as mustard and raring to get into the scrap, is very quickly shot down and killed. It serves to remind us that most of “the few” who lost their lives were indeed very young men.
Overall – a very good film.