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First Of The Few, The (1942, Leslie Howard, David Niven)



The First of the Few is an absorbing film biography of R J Mitchell, the designer of the Spitfire, the aircraft that enabled the Royal Air Force to defeat the might of Germany’s Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. Produced and directed by Leslie Howard, who also stars alongside David Niven.

The Monthly Film Bulletin said: ‘The film is brilliantly conceived, superbly produced and directed, and has some of the finest lighting and photography yet seen in British films. The flying sequences are exceptionally effective. But perhaps outstanding is the portrait of R J Mitchell by Leslie Howard. Simple and straightforward and therefore most moving in its appeal, this characterisation is unforgettable.’US Title: Spitfire

production details
UK | 118 minutes | 1942

Produced and Directed by Leslie Howard
Writers: Anatole de Grunwald, Miles Malleson

John Chandos as Krantz
J.H. Roberts as Sir Robert McLean
Leslie Howard as R.J. Mitchell
Roland Culver as Commander Bride
David Niven as Geoffrey Crisp
Herbert Cameron as MacPherson
Rosamund John as Diana Mitchell
Erik Freund as Messerschmitt
Brefni O’Rorke as The Specialist
Gordon McLeod as Major Buchan
Anne Firth as Miss Harper
David Horne as Mr. Higgins
Derrick De Marney as Squadron Leader Jefferson
Rosalyn Boulter as Mabel Lovesay
Toni Edgar-Bruce as Lady Houston
George Skillan as Mr. Royce
Fritz Wendhausen as Von Straben
Victor Beaumont as Von Crantz
Suzanne Clair as Madeleine
Filippo Del Giudice as Bertorelli
Gerry Wilmot as Radio Announcer
Jack Peach as Radio Announcer
Leslie Ruth Howard as American Nurse