THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

"Battle of Britain - The Movie", by Robert J. Rudhall, book excerpt #13
All text by the late Robert J. Rudhall, circa 2000

 


Cast and Credits


Harry Saltzman and Ben Fisz did a remarkable job in assembling an all-star cast for Battle of Britain. The list of performers read like a veritable 'who's who' of the British cinema, with big names such as Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir Michael Redgrave, Kenneth More, Michael Caine, Robert Shaw, Christopher Plummer, Patrick Wymark and Trevor Howard all making significant appearances throughout the film.

Some of the younger and lesser well-known members of the cast later went on to achieve screen stardom. Edward Fox became the sinister assassin in the film Day of the Jackal, and on the television screen he took the lead role as the Prince of Wales in the series Edward and Mrs Simpson.

Ian McShane appeared in a number of other films (If It's Tuesday This Must Be Belgium -1969, Villain -1971 and Ransom -1974) before finding fame with his portrayal of the roguish antique dealer in the BBC television series Lovejoy. Barry Foster played the Dutch detective Van der Valk in the very successful ITV series during the early 1970s, and also appeared as the 'necktie murderer' in Alfred Hitchcock's 1972 film Frenzy.

Coming down the ladder of priority somewhat, actor John Savident only appeared in Battle of Britain for about one minute, uttering just a handful of lines in the process. He later went on to appear in several television costume dramas, as well as taking a leading role in the hugely popular ITV 'soap opera' Coronation Street, in which he played the highly comical butcher, Fred Elliot. Behind the cameras was the cream of the British film industry. Director Guy Hamilton had a reputation for getting every detail right. His previous work on films such as: The African Queen, The Colditz Story, A Touch of Larceny and the James Bond film Goldfinger had stood him in good stead for his work on Battle of Britain. Assistant Director Derek Cracknell had previously worked on A Shot in the Dark, The Blue Max, Robbery and 2001 A Space Odyssey, before coming to Battle of Britain. He was later involved in the productions Live and Let Die, Aces High, The Wild Geese, Evil Under the Sun, Supergirl and Aliens.

Director of Photography Freddie Young's work on The Winslow Boy, The Barrells of Wimpole Street, Soloman & Sheba, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago and You Only Live Twice, among others, had won him wide acclaim and many awards in the world of film. Aerial Cameraman Skeets Kelly entered the film industry as a junior assistant to Freddie Young at the Elstree British & Dominion Studios. He made his name as an aerial cameraman on such films as Sink the Bismarck, Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines and The Blue Max before working on Battle of Britain. His life and career was cut short when he was killed in an accident during the filming of Zeppelin in 1970. 'Battle's other aerial cameraman, John Jordan, was also to lose his life during an aerial sequence for a film. Jordan fell out of a B-25 Mitchell bomber while shooting footage for Catch 22 in 1970.

In front of, and behind, the cameras Battle of Britain truly had an international 'star' cast.

Cast
General Theo Osterkamp                                             Wilfred van Aacken
Major Brandt, Heinkel Wing Leader                             Alexander Allerson
Jeschonnek, Luftwaffe Chief of Staff                             Karl Otto Alberty
Sir Francis Stokes, Under Secretary of State for Air     Harry Andrews
Aircraft Fitter Albert                                                     Peter Angelis
Farmer                                                                         John Bascomb
Warrant Officer Warwick                                             Michael Bates
Andy's Wife                                                                 Isla Blair
Squadron Leader Canfield                                            Michael Caine
Willoughby's Assistant                                                  Tom Chatto
Policeman                                                                     John Comer
Sergeant Pilot Jamie                                                      James Cosmo
'B' Station Intelligence Officer                                        Basil Dignam
'A' Station Plot Room Controller                                    Eric Dodson
Northolt Flight Commander                                           Michael Elwyn
Wing Commander Willoughby                                       Robert Flemyng
Pilot                                                                              Gareth Forward
Squadron Leader Edwards                                            Barry Foster
Pilot Officer Archie                                                        Edward Fox
Squadron Leader Tom Evans                                         W G Foxley
Feldmarschall Erhard Milch                                            Dietrich Frauboes
Sergeant Pilot Chris                                                       David Griffin
Feldmarschall Albert Kesselring                                     Peter Hager
General Fink                                                                  Wolf Harnish
WAAF Corporal Seymour                                             Pat Heywood
Bruno, Messerschmitt Pilot                                             Reinhard Horras
Air Vice Marshal Keith Park                                          Trevor Howard
Peter                                                                              Myles Hoyle
Brandt's navigator                                                           Alf Jungermann
Baron Max von Richter                                                   Curt Jurgens
Boehm                                                                            Helmut Kircher
Flight Sergeant Arthur                                                      Duncan Lamont
Skipper's Wife                                                                Sarah Lawson
Workman in Blitz                                                             Reg Lye
Pasco                                                                              Mark Malicz
Old Man in Church Hall                                                   George Merritt
Peter's First New Boy                                                     Richard Morant
British Embassy Valet                                                      Richardson Morgan
Group Captain Baker                                                      Kenneth More
French NCO                                                                   Andre Morell
Major Foehn                                                                   Paul Neuhaus
Air Minister                                                                     Anthony Nicholls
Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding                               Sir Laurence Olivier
Group Captain Hope                                                       Nigel Patrick
Lady Kelly                                                                       Eileen Peel
Simon                                                                              Nicholas Pennell
Beppo Schimdt, Luftwaffe Intelligence Colonel                 Malte Petzel
Squadron Leader Colin Harvey                                        Christopher Plummer  
Falke, Senior Messerschmitt Pilot                                     Manfred Reddeman
Air Vice Marshall Evill                                                      Sir Michael Redgrave
'C' Squadron Pilot                                                            Ben Richardson
David Kelly, British Minister in Switzerland                       Sir Ralph Richardson
Reichsmarschall Herman Goering                                      Hein Riess
Senior Signals Officer Harley                                            John Savident
Ox                                                                                   Andrzej Scibor
Squadron Leader Skipper                                                 Robert Shaw
Adolf Hitler                                                                       Rolf Stiefel
'C' Squadron Pilot                                                             Nicholas Tate
RAF Flight Sergeant                                                          Reg Thomason
Sergeant Pilot Charlie Lambert                                          Alan Tucker
Lift Operator/MoD                                                            Edward Williams
Jean Jaques                                                                       Jean Wladon
Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory                           Patrick Wymark
WAAF Section Officer Maggie Harvey                              Susannah York

* * * * * * * * *

Production Credits
Executive Producer                                                             Harry Saltzman
Producer                                                                            Benjamin S Fisz
Associate Producer                                                             John Palmer 
Director                                                                              Guy Hamilton
Assistant Director                                                                David Bracknell
First Assistant Director                                                        Derek Cracknell      
Screenplay                                                                          James Kennaway, Wilfred Greatorex  
Director of Photography                                                      Freddie Young BSC        
Director of Photography (Second Unit)                               Bob Huke BSC                              
Editor                                                                                 Bert Bates        
Sound Editors                                                                     James Shields, Edward Mason   
Music Composed & Conducted by                                     Ron Goodwin                        
'Battle in the Air' composed by                                            Sir William Walton OM                   
Conducted by                                                                     Malcolm Arnold
Chief Technical Advisor                                                       G/C TG Hamish Mahaddie         
Technical & Tactical Advisors                                              G/C Tom Gleave, W/C R Stanford-Tuck, W/C Robert Wright,
                                                                                           S/L Ginger Lacey, S/L B Drobinski, W/C Claire Legge (WRAF)
German Technical & Tactical Advisors                                 Lt Gen Adolf Galland, Col Hans Brustellin, Major Franz Frodl
Producer's Assistant                                                             David Haft
Supervising Art Director                                                       Maurice Carter GF AD     
Assistant Art Directors                                                         Alan Tomkins, Bert Davey GFAD, Tony Masters, Lionel Couch, Jack Maxstead, Andrew Campbell,
                                                                                            William Hutchinson GFAD, Tony Rimmington, William Alexander, Gill Parrondo

Camera Plane Pilot                                                               John 'Jeff' Hawke
Camera Plane Co-Pilot                                                         Duane Egli
Helicopter Pilot                                                                     John Crewdson
Camera Plane Modification                                                   Robert E Weimer, Frank Hill, Flying 'W' Products, Hill Air Co      
Aerial Unit Director                                                              Quentin Lawrence
Aerial Photography                                                               Skeets Kelly, John Jordan
Special Effects Supervisor                                                     Wally Veevers  
Researcher                                                                            John Roast
MoD Airspace Supervisor (ATC)                                          W/G Leslie Young              
Property Buyer                                                                      Ron Baker
Production Supervisor                                                           John Palmer
Chief Production Accountant                                                 Ron Allday
Unit Doctor (Spain)                                                               Raphael Torroba
Replica Aircraft Construction Manager                                   Ken Softly
Production Office                                                                   Tony Smith
Properties Manager                                                                John 'Paddy' Bennett
Props                                                                                     John Chisholm
Publicity (USA)                                                                      Dick McKay
Chief Electrician                                                                     Vic Smith
Camera Operator                                                                   Dudley Lovell 
Head of Publicity                                                                    Derek Coyte
Publicity Executive (in charge of liaison)                                   Air Cdr James Wallace                                 
Publicity Assistant                                                                   Jill Thomas  
Publicity Head Writer                                                              Tom Hutchinson       
Unit Publicity Director                                                             John Willis        
Head ofTelevision Publicity                                                      Christopher Doll               
Radio Publicity                                                                        John Dyas
Model Effects Supervisor                                                         John Siddal             
Model Unit Supervisor                                                             Richard Conway          
Radio Control Model Pilots                                                      Mick Charles, Chris Olsen, David Platt, Jack Morton, A Oliver, J Hoesli, J Holden, J Kirk, T Thomas                  
Replica Aircraft Effects                                                             Ken King, Les Steele
British Fighter Leader                                                               W/C George Elliot
Spanish Air Force Leader                                                         Commandante Pedro Santa Cruz       
Sound                                                                                      Gordon Everrett, Gordon McCallum       
Special Effects (Physical)                                                          Cliff Richardson, Glenn Robinson, John Richardson,  Nick Alder, Wally Armitage,
                                                                                                Alan Barnard, Jimmy Harris, Garth Inns, Roy Wbybrow       
Matte Effects                                                                            Wally Veevers, Ray Caple   
Optical Effects                                                                          Ronnie Wass  
Production Supervisor                                                              Sydney Streeter 
Production Manager                                                                 Claud Hudson
Spanish Production Manager                                                    Agustin Pastor           
Production Manager (Aerial Unit)                                             Bernard Williams                  
Continuity                                                                                 Elaine Schreyeck  
Casting Director                                                                       Maude Spector
Main Title Design                                                                     Maurice Binder
German Casting & Dialogue Director                                        Carl Fox-Duering                       
Carpenter                                                                                 William Creighton
Wardrobe Manager                                                                  John Wilson-Apperson
Wardrobe Mistress                                                                   Brenda Dabbs
Hairdresser                                                                               A G Scott
Chief Make-up                                                                         George Frost, Eric Allwright

Colour by Technicolor
Filmed in Panavision
Spitfire Productions Limited
Distributed By United Artists.

 

- END-

 

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