Starring Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave (1954).
A film with a memorable theme tune (as well-known as the Great Escape theme) and also a film much loved by British people.
It is the story of Dr. Barnes N. Wallis (played by Michael Redgrave), a weapons developer, playing with the idea that he can develop a bouncing bomb, to destroy the Ruhr Dams in Germany and bring down much of Germany's power sources and manufacturing bases. The idea is that the bomb could be dropped from a plane, bounce on the top of the damn, eventually hitting the damn wall and exploding.The wall would then collapse, spilling millions of tons of water onto the countryside, towns and villages, crippling some areas.
The first half of the film concentrates on the development of the bomb. Persuading the right people that it could work was the first step. The film paints Barnes as a brilliant, neurotic, hard-working but ultimately, caring man. Many long hours were spent in testing tanks, testing model bombs to find the right distance and height for the bombs to be dropped. The tension builds as the failures multiply. Can it be done? Is it too risky? Who will fly the planes that will drop the bombs?
The second half of the film is about the raid on the damns. The men have been chosen, the mission a secret until the last minute, the hundreds of hours of practice will be put to the ultimate test, then chocks away! As you watch the film you cannot begin to believe how brave these men were. Real heroes! To fly to Germany a few hundred feet off the ground, to drop the bomb and then return to England was always going to be a risky, if not suicidal plan.
Some things that do date the film are the explosive effects on the damn. However, the photography of the flying is still breathtaking.
It is gripping film from beginning to end and one that anyone who is interested in World War II and classic British films must see.
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