LION HAS WINGS, THE
(directors: Michael Powell/Adrian Brunel/Brian Desmond Hurst; screenwriters: Adrian Brunel/Brian Desmond Hurst/story by Ian Dalrymple, E.V.H. Emmett; cinematographers: Osmonde Borradaile/Bernard Browne/Harry Stradling Sr.; editors: Henry Cornelius/Charles Frend/Hugh Stewart/Derek N. Twist; music: Richard Addinsell; cast: Merle Oberon (Mrs. Richardson), Ralph Richardson (Wing Commander Richardson), June Duprez (June); Runtime: 76; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Alexander Korda; London Films; 1939-UK-B/W)
“An anti-Nazi propaganda war documentary for the Brits, filmed soon after the start of WWII, that looks ridiculous when viewed today.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An anti-Nazi propaganda war documentary for the Brits, filmed soon after the start of WWII, that looks ridiculous when viewed today. It was approved by the British Royal Air Force, as promised by producer Korda to the Brit premiere Winston Churchill. Co-directors Michael Poweii (“The Thief of Bagdad”), Brian Desmond Hurst (“Alibi”) and Adrian Brunel (“Barbarian and the Lady”), of the Korda team, each filmed their versions.
The film railed against Hitler as a warmonger and butcher of his fellow men. It showed Britain’s potential for men and munitions in the coming struggle and, above all, it promoted the Royal Air Force.
The film was shot in different locations simultaneously by the three directors, and was completed in five weeks and in theaters in eight weeks.
Powell has frankly stated: the film is “full of half-truths and half-lies, with some stagy episodes which were rather embarrassing and with actual facts which were highly distorted; but the will to fight was filmed, and I think The Lion Has Wings can claim to have caused a lot of people all over the world, who were inclined to support the Axis, to stop and think again. The making of this piece of popular propaganda also saved the British film industry from eclipse.”
REVIEWED ON 2/9/2023 GRADE: B-