Appointment In London Wing Commander Tim Mason (Sir Dirk Bogarde) leads a squadron of Lancaster bombers on almost nightly raids from England. Having flown eighty-seven missions, he will shortly be retiring from flying, but the strain is showing. He tries to make sure his men concentrate only on their job, and so keeps women away from the base, but then he meets Naval Officer Eve Canyon
A True Sleeper; Fine Drama with Romance, Tension and Aerial Battles
“Appointment in London” is an unusually-atmospheric, stylish and very-consistently-interesting late British WWII film. The subject is the pilots of British Bomber Command and the stresses they encounter in battles as the fly Lancasters in night missions over the European mainland. Specifically, the film features as its central character a dedicated pilot, played elegantly by Dirk Bogarde. He has completed 89 missions and survived, but very much wants his 90th. Due to fatigue and concerns for his well being, echelon grounds him. he is angry and frustrated, but during his time on the ground, he reconnects to life and wins lovely Dinah Sheridan, who acts very strongly as the widow of a naval intelligence type, winning her from breezy Willaim Sylvester, a U.S. pilot. The added tension in the film comes from Bogarde’s desire to complete his third tour with one final mission, and the fact that everything about it sets up to be a “jinxed” mission from the start. I will not give away the breath-taking and vivid climax, but apart from some leisurely spots here and there, I will claim that director Philip Leacock has produced one of the best of all war films in “Appointment in London” The script was credited to Robert Westerby and John Woolridge, with cinematography by Stephen Dade and art direction by Donald M. Ashton. John Woolridge also wrote the fine original score, and costumes were contributed by Sheila Graham. In appearance, the film is very strongly made, and attractively photographed. The aerial sequences are very good and the recreated picture of wartime London is a big selling point for this hard-to-find film. Bogarde and Sheridan are extraordinarily touching and intelligent; I cannot recommend this film too highly as drama, as a war movie or as a cinematic “sleeper”, one which in lesser hands would not have been as absorbing as it was made to be.