UK / 1952
Director: Philip Leacock
Writers: John Wooldridge, Robert Westerby, from Wooldrige’s book
Cast: Dirk Bogarde, Ian Hunter, Dinah Sheridan, Bill Kerr, Bryan Forbes, William Sylvester, Charles Victor
A strong and convincing screenplay by former Bomber Command Wing Commander John Wooldridge (who, unusually, also composed the film’s excellent musical score) and Robert Westerby, setting the action during one month in 1943. Dirk Bogarde was cast as a RAF wing commander who is understandably under considerable strain after 90 sorties over Germany. He is relaxed by his friendship with Dinah Sheridan, a war widow, whose affections he wins from American liaison officer William Sylvester. Bogarde’s squadron keeps losing men, including pilot officer Bryan Forbes, whose widow Anne Leon is befriended by Sheridan. When Bogarde is grounded at the height of the Bomber Command offensive over Germany, he and Sylvester take off again on a big raid when replacements are needed.
Leacock, a noted documentary filmmaker, brought depth and unobtrusive comment to a subject which, even in 1952, could easily have become hackneyed in lesser hands.