Nominated for a BAFTA for Best British Film, Angels One Five is the story of the Battle of Britain from the perspective of the men and women on the ground, running the RAF base where the planes were based.
Jack Hawkins stars as Group Captain ‘Tiger’ Small alongside Michael Denison as Sq. Leader Peter Moon; the two top men in charge of the RAF fighter base in Kent. It’s the summer of 1940 and new pilot Baird (John Gregson) is bringing in a replacement Hurricane but crashes it on the runway, almost killing top pilot Flt Lt. ‘Batchy’ Salter (Humphrey Lestocq). Baird is subsequently demoted from flying to a position in the ops room.
But when German bombers head for the RAF base and all pilots are ordered into the air, Baird takes his opportunity and captures a Messerschmidt. He is later reprimanded for his lack of discipline but then promoted as a member of the squadron. Soon he confirms his place as a courageous and skilful pilot, earning number two spot next to his former nemesis, Salter. But on a mission together the two are caught in a dogfight. Baird manages to warn Salter that a Messerschmidt is on his tail and saves his friend’s life but is subsequently shot down himself.
“By concentrating on one particular squadron, a few combats and a handful of people… the makers of the film have achieved a good deal… Jack Hawkins, Michael Denison and John Gregson fill the three leading roles with authority,” said Monthly Film Bulletin while the Sunday Times said the film “has a simplicity and a lack of affectation which are heart rending.”
UK / 1954
Director: George More O’Ferrall
Writers: Pelham Groom, Derek N. Twist
Cast: Jack Hawkins, Michael Denison, Dulcie Gray, Cyril Raymond, Humphrey Lestocq, Andrew Osborn, Veronica Hurst, Harold Goodwin, Norman Pierce