View Full Version : military film buffs - question

17th Oct 2002, 12:02
I know it's streching the memory to the limit, but can anyone help me with the name of a film, made in the 50s, in which one of the scenes was an emergency landing by a Hawker Hunter onto the RAF airfield at Nicosia? I seem to remember footage showing another Hunter flying alongside. Can't remember why the aircraft was in trouble, don't think it was a war-related incident. Likely to be the first half of the 50s.

Any help much appreciated.

17th Oct 2002, 21:53
I may be wrong, but wasn't that part of a movie called "High Flight" made in the early 1950s, starring Anthony Newley et al. and for which one Albert R Broccoli (later of Bond movie fame) was executive producer?

It was about a group of Cranwell cadets who eventually make it to a Leuchars Hunter squadron (43) which deploys to Wunsdorf (to be equipped with the latest air-to-air missile!!). Whilst practising air-to-air gunnery, Newley and a wingman are ordered to chase a couple of intruders near Lubeck but they end up crossing the border and get shot up. Eventually Newley is assisted back to 'Wunsdorf' (actually Leuchars) and crash lands (at another aerodrome which has an elevation of 734 ft - could that be Nicosia? It's certainly somewhere pretty barren with Meteors, Sycamore helicopters and the odd Hastings or Valetta - can't quite tell which - in the background). The movie has some amazing low-flying shots of Provosts, Vampires and very close Hunter formation flying......

One thing I certainly recall from the movie (which I have safely stored on VHS) was the 3-year Cranwell flying training syllabus of those days. It went something like: 1st-3rd terms, 60 hours air experience and navigation training (Valetta), 4th-6th terms 140 hours (piston) Provost, 7th-9th terms 130(?) hours Vampire. Compare that to the few hours some people get nowadays in a piddling little Tupperware trainer, followed by a bit more in the 30 year old Wetdream.....

18th Oct 2002, 07:22
BEagle - I've been after a copy of this for a while now - any chances of a copy?

18th Oct 2002, 08:08
Me too, please. This film has some of the best air/air shots ever. A typically British version of Top Gun i.e. same story, rebellious young student whose CO was somehow involved in the father's loss of life/reputation!

18th Oct 2002, 08:58
Many thanks. I have not seen the film since the 50s as a very small boy, and thought it a long shot. I was actually in Cyprus at the time, with my father, who was a Flt Lt in movements, and seem to remember that I saw it as a treat, because of the Nicosia involvement (see later).

I have found several references for this film, variously dated as 1956 or 1957. Not surprisingly, search includes many references to the excellent poem by John Gillespie Magee.

I can confirm that the cast list did include Anthony Newley and, as you would expect, many other stalwarts of British films of that era - Barry Foster, Kenneth Haigh, Bernard Lee, Lesley Phillips, Richard Wattis, and John Le Mesurier as "the Commandant". Cast also includes one Ian Fleming - could it be he? Alas no.

Special effects by Cliff Richardson, who later assisted in the "Battle of Britain" film.

Interesting reference from Tangmere Museum:

"After this, the Hunters of Nos. 1 and 34 Squadrons, with some 29 Sqn groundcrew left for Cyprus at the time of the Suez crisis of 1956 to cover the beacheads. One Hunter from 34 Sqn was destroyed on the ground in Cyprus by EOKA, and one 29 Sqn groundcrew member was slightly injured (the remains of this aircraft were later sold to the film company making "High Flight", starring Ray Miland)."

No sign of a copy of the film yet, so I too may be putting in a begging letter!

18th Oct 2002, 10:36
I'd also love to see a copy...

Beagle, I know someone who can copy VHS and also convert to DVD (I think Damien knows who I mean!) so if you're happy I could ask him. Odds are good that he'd love to watch it too!



18th Oct 2002, 16:32

Your figure for Nicosia Airport's elevation is correct.

21st Oct 2002, 09:02
I understand that it's OK to make a single off-air copy of something on TV for one's own use, but that to make further copies would breach copyright rules. So, unless someone can convince me that it's OK to make copies of 45 year old movies (which are unavailable elsewhere) by not-for-profit VHS-VHS transfer, then I'll have to say no. Sorry.

The film was made in 1957, I believe. The same year as that infamous Defence White Paper..........

21st Oct 2002, 12:08
As usual, Beagle is entirely correct.

I am trying to get hold of someone at Sony Pictures, who took over Columbia, shown as producers and distributors of this film, to get a view on availability and copyright.

More later!

21st Oct 2002, 13:21
No problem BEagle, I understand, just a thought!

Look forward to results of your enquiries Newswatcher.

Incidently, is there "expiriation" on Copyright eventually? I was always under the no doubt erroneous impression that after so many years (50 or 75 or something) that it ceased to apply. Any one know?



21st Oct 2002, 13:23
Pity, as I've had an email from the relatives of one of the pilots involved in the filming - they were after a copy and have had no luck getting one.

As I understand it, seeing as the director died in 1985, the film becomes public domain in 2055...

Edit - ah, the two main writers died in 1994 and 2001, so that could make it 2071 instead.

21st Oct 2002, 13:48
Think I might be dead by then as well... either that or in with a good chance of "oldest man alive..."

21st Oct 2002, 16:37
Implementation of an EC Directive in 1996 extended legal protection of copyright to 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the death of the last surviving principal director, screenplay author, dialogue author or composer of a film's musical soundtrack died.