“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: