HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Reach for the Sky The Makings Of A Hero
Year: 1956
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Kenneth More, Muriel Pavlow, Lyndon Brook, Lee Patterson, Alexander Knox, Dorothy Alison, Michael Warre, Sydney Tafler, Howard Marion-Crawford, Jack Watling, Nigel Green, Anne Leon, Charles Carson, Ronald Adam, Walter Hudd, Michael Ripper, Michael Gough
Genre: War, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Douglas Bader (Kenneth More) was one of the heroes of the Battle of Britain where pilots took to the skies to combat the Nazi menace during World War II, but he did not begin his Air Force career in the late nineteen-twenties as heroic, anything but as he was prone to misbehaviour and had a problem with being told what to do by authority. He would encourage his mates in training to do the same, and as a pilot he was not exactly getting off to a stellar career as far as his superiors could see, not even able to land the biplanes properly at first. His extracurricular activities would get him into hot water as well, drinking and carousing mostly, with womanising thrown in for good measure. However, it would be an incident in 1931 that changed his life forever...

Well, sort of, as he continued to behave as the know-it-all and not listen to anyone but himself if he could help it, it's just that now he didn't have any legs. Douglas Bader was a war hero, there was no doubt about that, yet as an individual he was not the most affable of men to say the least, certainly not around the time the film drawn from the biographical book was set, but the moviemakers couldn't exactly make him totally unlikeable or risk turning off an audience all geared up for over two hours of relentless patriotism. There were many war films made in the British entertainment industry in the fifties as the nation's society tried to recapture some glory thanks to there still being an austerity drive in this era, and abroad the United Kingdom was seeing its influence dwindling.

Indeed, Reach for the Sky happened along at the point of the Suez Crisis, a turning point for the country as it illustrated Britain could not rely on its past as a superpower anymore, so the public were keen to see a depiction of their compatriots that bolstered the notion they were yet putting the great in Great Britain, and sure enough this production fast became one of the biggest hits their film industry ever saw. No matter that Bader's reputation as not particularly a nice guy could have sabotaged the project, as director Lewis Gilbert, adapting the book himself, cannily cast Kenneth More as the lead - Richard Burton was reputedly who the producers actually wanted as first choice, which would have made for a very different experience. But More was one of the most popular stars in the country.

Therefore he could do no wrong with local audiences, and that essential likeability, that embodiment of indomitable national character, served him well as Bader. More, guided by Gilbert, took an interesting tack, not toning down Bader's arrogance but channelling it in a way that would make the viewer appreciate his usefulness against the enemy, not to mention being glad he was on the right side since that boundless energy in spite of his disability was focused on the good fight, thus summing up the British pluck and faith that they were morally correct, a faith meaning there was no way we could not win against evil. While the accident is shown to be Bader's own stupid fault, trying to show off by performing stunts when he should have been reining himself in, the aftermath was surprisingly gruelling for a film of this decade.

There was not gore or anything, but in More's acting we could tell how agonising his recovery was as first Bader has the limbs amputated, then fights back from the brink of death to manage walking once more thanks to his "tin legs", every step of the way never backing down or giving in to his perceived physical disadvantage. In a manner that Tom Cruise was reminiscent of in Born on the Fourth of July, More was more convincing no matter the vintage of the setting, as he was not aiming for awards glory by playing against type, he was acting within his range and proving very effective to that end while retaining a degree of the stiff upper lip as expected. He's never mentioned in lists of the greatest screen actors, yet like many of those who would play a particular type More was very good at what he did, and in Reach for the Sky he achieved excellence with apparent ease. Backed by a solid cast including the sensitive, worried Muriel Pavlow as his wife, he was able to render what could have been an offputting personality understandable and laudable. Music by John Addison.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2142 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: