One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942)
“Stand by to abandon aircraft!”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Once the crew have parachuted safely to the ground (minus one, who is later found), we see the men’s adventures across the Netherlands — beginning with encountering kids playing in the countryside, who they must convince of their innocence (thankfully, Burden speaks a bit of survival Dutch):
Because this is a propaganda film, we sense that things will work out for our hardy protagonists — especially given how careful schoolteacher Brown is to ensure they really are who they say they are:
… and thus we can simply enjoy their clever tactics against suspicious Germans, which involve dressing up as Dutch:
… and hiding parachutes under the pews at a church where secret signals are sent by the organist:
Next we see a different brand of heroism, with Withers playing a double-life as a Nazi sympathizer while hiding a radio and helping the Resistance:
The entire film is beautifully shot by DP Ronald Neame, making it a pleasurable viewing experience. While this one is not must-see, it’s well worth a one-time look.
Note: Watch for young (slim) Peter Ustinov in a bit role (his feature-length debut) as a Catholic priest.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
One thought on “One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942)”
First viewing. Not must-see, though it’s a good film. It will be of special interest to completists of WWI films.
The vivid opening notwithstanding, it’s somewhat slow-moving early on (though, with this storyline, it would be). It builds nicely as it progresses, becoming more suspenseful as it nears its conclusion. The scene in the church is particularly tense.
It’s well-made, with impressive attention to detail and there’s a fine naturalism in the acting.