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The Battle of Britain on Screen

'The Few' in British Film and Television Drama

The Battle of Britain on Screen
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This book examines in depth for the first time the origins, development, and reception of the major dramatic screen representations of ‘The Few’ in the Battle of Britain produced over the past seventy years. It explores both continuity and change of presentation in relation to a wartime event that acquired near-mythical dimensions in popular consciousness even before it happened and has been represented multiple times over the course of the past seven decades. Alongside technical developments, considerable social, cultural, and political fluctuation (as well as an expansion of factual knowledge concerning the battle itself) occurred in this period, all of which helped to shape how the battle came to be framed at particular junctures. The ways in which the Battle of Britain was being represented in other fictional forms as well histories and commemorations form part of the context in which screen representations are explored. Films discussed in detail include The Lion Has Wings, First of the Few, Angels One Five, Reach for the Sky and Battle of Britain, along with the television productions Piece of Cake and A Perfect Hero. Foreign productions, such as A Yank in the RAF and Dark Blue World, as well as abandoned projects and dramas in which ‘The Few’ feature in a more tangential fashion, are also mentioned in context. The emphasis throughout is on production issues and the extent to which these screen dramas reflected or influenced popular understanding of 1940. The Battle of Britain on Screen is therefore a contribution to the growing scholarly literature on how the Second World War has been remembered and represented within the United Kingdom.