Leslie Howard

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First of the Few UK Dvd (1942)
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2014: Back in Stock. Order here.

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The ultimate story on the birth of probaly the greatest aircraft ever to see the skies, the spitfire. UK Dvd gallery added.

First of the Few UK Dvd

  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (UK & Europe)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Colour/B/w: Black & White Feature Film

  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Slam Dunk Media / Showbox
  • DVD Release Date: 2 April 2007

    ‘One of the classic aviation films of all time’ - FLYPAST
    ‘Wartime British cinema at its best’ – FLYER

This classic 1942 British film tells the true story of how Spitfire designer R.J Mitchell and his test pilot Jeffrey Quill developed the warplane whose technological superiority helped to win the Battle of Britain.

The film features two of Britain’s best-loved stars: Leslie Howard (who tragically went missing in action after this film was made) as Mitchell and David Niven as Quill. Rosamund John also stars.


    The Immortal Story of the Spitfire

Filmed during the dark days of 1942, this is the immortal story of the Spitfire which had helped to win the Battle of Britain the previous year. Leslie Howard stars as R J Mitchell, the inventor of the Spitfire, whose aircraft designs were turned down for funding by Whitehall because they were too revolutionary. A chance meeting with Messerschmitt in the early 1930's gives Mitchell the inspiration to build Britains fastest and deadliest fighter plane. But first he must find a devil-may-care pilot to risk his life on the test flights. Salvation comes in the form of Geoffrey Crisp (David Niven), an out of work veteran fighter pilot from the First World War. Together they build the aircraft that so many will owe their lives to. However, as Mitchell strives to perfect his fighter plane, he is rocked by the news that he has only one-year to live unless he stops working. His stark choice is to save himself or save his country.


    "Never in the field of human conflict was so
    much owed by so many to so few"

This went out of print around the end of 2010. It had always been a steady if unspectacular seller. Though the Daily Mail release killed sales for a period they did pick up and then it was gone. Vanished, without a trace. Or seemed like that. When it did come on the market the price went up and up.

Odeon Entertainment re-released it in March 2011, firstly as part of a 3 Dvd Best of British Collection boxset and then on its own. The new release had different artwork which was quite boring and lazy really. The original release (and the one offered here) had blue as the primal colour and represented the blue of the skies of the Battle of Britain and perfectly captured the film even though it is in black & white; the re-release just has a bog-standard photo-still from the movie and a gaudy orange as its primal colour.

Whatever the release there is only one print and it has not been remastered. Consequently the quality of the film can be poor at times but since there is no other alternative what can you do? Still a wonderful film and I would recommend it to anyone at all interested in this mercurial plane.

The wonderful and irreplaceable Leslie Howard must have been 48 or 49 when he starred and directed the film yet he still looks so young! In fact he never seemed to age. He was nearly 2 decades older than Niven and yet they look the same age!

My own personal thoughts on the film is if you put aside the Spitfires for awhile, this is a heavyweight battle between the purveyors of easy British charm, Howard & Niven. Rosamund John was a fine actress but here she just gets pushed to the side of the screen.

And the winner on points is Howard.

Official UK release. SDMD2043.

This is now out-of-print and becoming increasingly hard to find. Distributors are no longer able to get this title.

July 2014: 1 in stock.

Below are scans from the UK. Click on each for bigger scans.

Condition: Dvd & cover 'Like New'.


First of the Few UK Dvd
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First of the Few UK Dvd
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First of the Few UK Dvd
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