A friend of mine has come across a remarkable film about John Blyth, an 18 year-old just out of high school who was trained to take pictures of damage done to German targets by US bombers in 1944. He flew in a British Spitfire fitted with extra fuel tanks where the guns were suppose to be. In other words, he flew over Germany unarmed. At 18 years old, he was all alone, behind enemy lines, with no guns, no escort, and he gladly did it.
This documentary, filmed in 2005, is built around an interview with the then 83-year-old Spitfire pilot, combined with sequences extracted from two suitcases-full of 16mm home movies inherited by filmmaker William Lorton from his great-uncle who served as a Flight Surgeon. Wait for the golden moment when John sees his 18-year-old self on archive film for the first time.
A fascinating new post from Charles Foster’s Dambusters Blog:
“It’s sad to have to report that the film director Michael Anderson died on Wednesday night, at the age of 98. He was best known to readers of this blog as the director of the 1955 film, The Dam Busters, but this was just part of his long career in the film business. At the time of his death he was the oldest living Oscar nominee for best director.”
“By the early 1950s, he was under contract as a director to Britain’s biggest film studio, Associated British Pictures, for whom he would eventually produce five films. ABP had bought the rights to Paul Brickhill’s best-selling book, The Dam Busters and commissioned a script from the writer of Journey’s End, R C Sherriff. Anderson was selected as director”
“What is not widely known………is that the film was nearly scuppered by a contractual dispute with Guy Gibson’s widow, Eve, after the shooting was completed. Continue reading →
The brand new high-definition restoration of the classic Dam Busters film is being premiered as one of the official opening events for the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln on Saturday 14 April. If you can’t get to Lincoln for this showing of the film, it will be screened again on Thursday 17 May, in a simulcast from the Royal Albert Hall, which you can catch at the Kinema in the Woods, Woodhall Spa, the Playhouse, Louth, the Savoy, Boston and other cinemas in our area. Booking here.
For the restoration, STUDIOCANAL went back to the original 1954 camera negative and sound negative. They have produced a 4K DCP, UHD version and a new HD version to the same high technological standards as today’s biggest international film releases.
Charles Foster reports that Peter Jackson’s remake of the 1955 film The Dam Busters, which has now been on the cards for almost 15 years, has been further delayed as the director now concentrates on his current movie project to bring new life to film footage shot during the First World War, held in the Imperial War Museum’s archives.
The film will premiere at the BFI London film festival, where it will be shown in 3D, before being shown on BBC One and sent to all schools for the 2018 autumn term
Charles takes a somewhat dim view of this news: “Everyone would agree that this is a very worthy venture, and that it will also showcase the cinematic techniques for which the Jackson team is justifiably famous. However, anyone with an interest in a certain other project which is supposed to be in his studio’s pipeline will feel more than a little deflated that this would now appear to be his priority. We are, of course, talking about the remake of the 1955 film The Dam Busters, which has now been on the cards for almost 15 (yes 15!) years.”
Earlier this month I noticed three rather nice videos on Youtube promoting the Lincolnshire Wolds which have now been compiled into one feature. There are quite a few scenes shot on our patch, dotted around the three original films, so it’s worth staying with it to the end. Why not sit back, take your mind off mustard gas down in the woods and see how many places or people you recognise!
In a previous post I wrote about the rich heritage of Boston, Lincolnshire, reflected by the town’s excellent Guildhall Museum. Boston’s recent past is also valued by the many contributors to a Facebook Group called BostonMemories, whose members share old photographs and comments, and occasionally an archive film, like this British Council production, made in 1943, which I included in my earlier post. Spurred on by a recent conversation with some Bostonian visitors to Gunby Hall last weekend, I thought it was worth another look at this wartime public information film set in this town, so often maligned these days: