A good war movie is vital to get you through the festive period. I was therefore delighted to see 633 Squadron yesterday afternoon – I like the genre very much. My father was in the RAF, though he never once flew and earned his wings by sailing at the Royal Thames Yacht Club with his wing commander. Also these film reflect the times they were made as much as those they depicted.
The story was of the raid to take out a key petrol production plant near Bergen. 633 Squadron had all the features I like. Cliff Robertson, himself no mean aviator who was presumed dead at Pearl Harbour, takes the lead. Harry Andrews plays the autocratic Air Vice Marshal, whilst Denholm Elliott is squadron leader. The only incongruous piece of casting was George Chakiris of West Side Story as leader of the Norwegian resistance. David Macallum who appeared in The Great Escape would surely be more convincing. It also has the staple scenes: raucous drunken RAF officers in the country pub; the free spirit confronting his senior officer; the Nazi torture scene. This reflected the more permissive sixties as the interrogating Gestapo officer was a blonde woman who had Chakiris’ privates excised with mighty relish. Best of all are the flying sequences with the glorious soundtrack.
I rather hoped I could see The Manchurian Candidate immediately afterwards. However, my missus had other ideas and I was summoned to table for family Monopoly.