Profile for Andy_atGC > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Andy_atGC
Top Reviewer Ranking: 55
Helpful Votes: 7820

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Andy_atGC (London UK)
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Lindy 31664 - USB 2.0 Type A to Micro-B cable - 1m
Lindy 31664 - USB 2.0 Type A to Micro-B cable - 1m
Price: 5.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solidly reliable brand, 15 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Over many years, many different Lindy cables had been purchased including some redundant types but I have never had one fail or fall apart. However, I have had many of other brands that have shown some serious fault and sometimes not long after purchase. Lindy is one brand that I therefore tend to rely on.

Lindy fully support their products and, in the event that one should be faulty, they will normally replace it. If you buy from Amazon, you have their support, too.

If you use the cable correctly and disconnect by pulling on the connector which have the finger grips for that purpose and NOT the cable, it will last much longer.


2 x Solution 30 150ml spray spectacle lens cleaner for Glasses, VDU screens, Monitors, IPad, Tablet, Mobile Phone
2 x Solution 30 150ml spray spectacle lens cleaner for Glasses, VDU screens, Monitors, IPad, Tablet, Mobile Phone
Offered by Graceson Online
Price: 14.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the job, 14 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Compared with the 20 or 25ml mini-dispensers that are sometimes sold at almost equivalent prices, these 150ml cans will last for ages. Only a small amount of solution needs be sprayed onto a cloth (woven microfibre is best) to clean a pair of spectacle or sunglasses. A second dry cloth may be needed for a final polish.

Sold under the Carl Zeiss label who are one of the most prestigious brands in worldwide optics, whether spectacle lenses, camera lenses or professional optical equipment and is safe for all types of lens materials.


Lindy 31885 - 2m USB 2.0 Cable - Type A to Mini-B, Black
Lindy 31885 - 2m USB 2.0 Cable - Type A to Mini-B, Black
Offered by RMXdirect-UK
Price: 3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reliable brand backed by good customer service, 13 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Lindy cables are among the most consistently reliable in personal experience. They aren't often the least expensive, can be among the most expensive but are usually fairly priced.

In this instance, the 2metre version is one of several offered, some shorter but mostly longer lengths. The mini type connector is commonly used by many cameras and other devices for both charging and data transfer functions. In this instance, it may be used with a camera whose supplied 40cm lead causes several issues of convenience.

The cable is as well-made as is expected of the brand with the usual orange-red ring at or close to the point of contact between cable and plug.


Nancy Wake
Nancy Wake
by Russell Braddon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of one of WW2's least known true heroines, well-written and deserving greater recognition, 12 July 2014
This review is from: Nancy Wake (Paperback)
The author of this book was an Australian who was captured at Singapore and held by the Japanese for four years during WWII. He wrote 'The Naked Island' in which he details his POW experiences and which became a worldwide best seller. This book was another best seller and was first published in 1956, a time when a great many wartime memoirs and biographies of some who failed to survive and also stories of various wartime exploits (mostly 'Raids') came to be written and published.

It was possible that the success of some of the first examples may have prompted many others to tell and have their stories published. Several of the more heroic, better-known, or most successful of these books were transferred to the big screen. They included such British movies as Sink the Bismarck, Battle of the River Plate, The Dambusters and two about other SOE heroines, Odette and Carve Her Name With Pride among a far larger number. There were similar movies produced elsewhere, probably in similar quantities. For whatever reasons, this story never was included although it was possible that permission was not given (there were several instances where approval for their story was reputedly withheld by the subject).

The story within this book stands aside of the majority of wartime biographies. The subject's sense of adventure and willingness to act quickly and rationally showed at a fairly young age and when barely out of school. This trait would be repeatedly shown as life's challenges appeared. The biography is one of a New Zealand-born woman who spent some of her early life in Australia before returning to her country of birth. Life in both countries in pre-War years could be quite grim and challenging. She ran away from home at 16, worked as a nurse, and upon gaining a small inheritance used that to travel to New York and later to London where she worked as a journalist. Moving to Paris, she met and married a French industrialist late in pre-War 1939 and was present for the German invasion a few months later.

After the fall of France, she worked as a courier within the Resistance and later joined a network helping others escape from the Nazis who were aware of her existence and activities and attempting to locate her. Usually evading their attention, she was once briefly imprisoned but her escape was soon engineered and she was back in action after four days.

She escaped to Spain and reached England where she joined SOE. After training, she was parachuted back to France in April 1944 to assist the Maquis. Working as a courier and an arms distributor to the Maquis, she was liaison between them and SOE. On one occasion, she cycled more than 300 miles, passing successfully through several German check points to replace code books that had to be hurriedly destroyed. She remained in France beyond its liberation.

Decorated post-War by Britain, France (repeatedly), USA and Australia, this very brave woman who had learned that her husband had been tortured to death in 1943, returned to Australia where she stood for election to its Parliament but failed. She then returned to Britain working as an Intelligence officer and then met and married an RAF officer. She resigned her post and later returned to Australia again standing in a later Parliamentary election. Still unelected and later in life, she returned to the UK where she ultimately died in extreme old age.

The book details Nancy's life, concentrating mostly on her wartime activities. She was unafraid to tackle the tasks that caused others to hesitate. Although Nancy Wake's name may not be one that is as readily familiar as are others associated with SOE, she is possibly one of the most courageous and adventurous. Her story deserves to be better known.


Carve Her Name with Pride
Carve Her Name with Pride
by R. J. Minney
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and known story although with some faults by its author, 12 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There are a great many biographies that were published in the first 10-15 years immediately post-War which were sufficiently heroic in their stories, successful in themselves and upon which many equally successful British movies were made. 'Carve Her Name With Pride' was just one. 'The Great Escape', 'The Dambusters', 'Battle of the River Plate', 'Sink the Bismarck' were among the better known book and movie combinations from that era and 'Odette' was one of the few also about a former SOE agent.

The author of this book was a complex and multi-talented individual with a career that included journalist, magazine editor (several times), film producer, university lecturer in film and media, playright and author of over 30 titles of which most were fiction but also included a biography on Charlie Chaplin. One may feel it necessary to ask why a writer whose background is mostly in fiction would choose or be asked to write a biography. That background in fiction also forces to the surface the question about the book's factuality and whether some portions were invented. The author's film work was based in Britain and Hollywood and he had worked with some of the big names in film. This book was first published in 1956 and the film of the same name was released soon afterwards.

This book's story is that of Violette Szabo, a British-born Anglo-French woman then working as a shop assistant who met and married an officer of the French Foreign Legion who would be killed at El Alamein in 1942. Completely bi-lingual in French and English and by then a mother of a baby daughter, she volunteered her services to the Government and was eventually recruited into SOE, a secretive agency that worked in several occupied countries in isolation from any other agency such as MI5, SIS etc, but most extensively and famously in France. Officially a member of FANY, as a nursing auxilliary - a frequently used cover; ambulance driver was another used for its female agents - she was twice parachuted into France and was once returned to the UK after an initial assignment lasting less than four weeks. The second drop was to be her last.

The book details the various segments Violette's life, from her early years, schooling and employment, meeting her future husband, her brief experience of life as a married woman and then widowhood. The remainder of the book, the largest part, deals with her life within SOE, her training, her work in France and leading to her capture and eventual death. There a couple of short chapters that conclude the story following her demise at the very young age of twenty-three.

In the post-War years, Violette's parents and daughter emigrated to Australia.

For several reasons, this is one of the best known and best remembered stories of the War. The book has been frequently reprinted and republished and deserves to be read, if for no other reason than the selfless courage and determination that this very young mother demonstrated. She acted, not forgetting her daughter, but to continue the fight that had taken her husband's life and FOR her. Later in her life Violette's daughter, Tania Szabo, wrote about her mother's exploits and by that time SOE's existence was admitted and some of its secrets exposed.

There are a few instances where the author has presumably added some extra 'detail' such as content of conversations, activities, situations and, not least, her interrogation prior to being sent to Ravensbruck, the records of which were probably less complete than is included here and which were probably recreated. Without the controls that its subject may ordinarily be able to impose (memory permitting), flights of fancy could easily devalue the writer's original intentions. Fortunately, there are not too many and they are not too serious. Consequently, the rating will not be affected.


Samsung NX30 18-55 Kit - Black (20.3MP, Digital IS + OIS) 3 inch AMOLED
Samsung NX30 18-55 Kit - Black (20.3MP, Digital IS + OIS) 3 inch AMOLED
Offered by Discount-Select
Price: 710.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A meaningful upgrade on the previous NX20, 11 July 2014
Received as a competition prize, Samsung's NX30 is an update from the surprisingly good NX20 of about 2 years ago and which I obtained at that time, adding a few selected lenses over the following months. There are several changes and performance upgrades in this upon the older model but a lot that remains nearly identical.

One thing to note is that the battery is now charged within the camera and there is no need for an external battery holder. The disadvantage is that you cannot use the camera and charge a spare battery at the same time; you could charge them sequentially, in advance. The adapter plug with its 3-pin slot-in adapter (the earth prong folds out for use) is connected by a rather short 40cm lead directly to the socket hidden under a flap on the right side with the lens facing away from you. You may want to replace the lead with a longer one for added convenience - it accepts a standard USB micro plug. This lead can also be used when transferring data to or from the camera (firmware updates and image downloads, respectively) although its WiFi functions may be more convenient. When charging, its status LED on the top plate will turn red (extenguished when fully charged) and another red LED to the side of the screen is also illuminated but turns green when fully charged. The other socket under that cover is for HDMI but you will need to obtain the appropriate lead as it isn't provided - it is standard micro-HDMI-to-HDMI. The camera strap is mostly nylon, quite wide for most of its length and branded, but you need to ensure that the strap ends are correctly threaded and secured to the camera as mistakes could be costly should the camera fall; the threading is correct out of the box. When first switched on, you will need to set a default location and time and date settings. Everything else, you can set or alter as and when needed.

One less obvious change is that there is a theoretical choice of kit lens. The standard lens for the NX20 was always the bulkier and heavier 18-55mm - a very good performer in its own right, and the one provided in this instance - and with the same maximum aperture of f/3.5. You now have a choice between that and the 20-50mm, which was always the default for the non-EVF models, for the NX30. About 80g in weight and 25mm in length are saved with the smaller lens. It accepts a 40.5mm filter that is common to all of Samsung's pancake lenses and some others, and is collapsible so that it is potentially pocketable when unmounted; extending it for use incurs a brief delay. Samsung recently announced a more advanced standard zoom, the 16-50mm f2.0-2.8 which it designates as 'Premium' and with a size, weight and price to match (currently around 770); more 'Premium' lenses are planned.

The electronic viewfinder is now extensible by about 35mm from its normally retracted position within the top housing and is then also tiltable up to 80 degrees in fixed increments, which may offer several practical benefits whether fully raised, part-raised or horizontal. It now provides 2.36MP resolution which is considerably increased from 144K on the older camera. The older viewfinder was pretty good, although it could scintillate (some pixels may twinkle) under certain conditions; this new version may not prevent scintillation but the finer resolution will make it far less obvious. The screen has also been improved and now offers 1.03MP (about 60% more than the previous 640K and is rotatable and tiltable, as it was previously, and uses improved super-AMOLED technology which is also to be used in some of Samsung's 2014/15 tablets and smart phones. As with those other devices, the screen is touch-enabled. It was more than adequately bright and easy to use on the NX20 and, now enhanced, is also better. A small flash unit is built into the viewfinder housing. You may think that the camera no longer has a dioptric adjustment as it was external on the NX20; it is still there but you now need to extend the viewfinder to adjust it. The dial is larger and flatter and needs just one finger to set; this is a more intelligent arrangement as it is far more difficult to inadvertently change its setting in its protected location.

Externally, the camera gains a few controls and they are rearranged over the back and top-plate. It's a little larger overall than the previous model; the handgrip is also larger and more comfortable, offering an much improved grip and its thumb grip is larger and texturally improved. Internally, its sensor's pixel count is unchanged at 20.3MP, presumably with the same CMOS chip although Samsung make no specific statement to the contrary and its processor has been updated to the DRIMe IV with a faster CPU and more on-board memory. All of these changes add up to a far more usable and easier-to-handle camera. Although the camera uses SD cards, any capacity and flavour will apparently work, it will readily accept a micro SDcard in a suitable adapter. This may be an advantage if needing to view or edit images on a tablet but most laptops and desktops will accept full-sized SD cards.

Although other manufacturers are now removing from some of their models the low-pass filter over the sensor that they previously insisted was essential - many recognise that they can detrimentrally affect the resolution of their lenses and sensors - but Samsung are apparently not at present following suit. Focusing is said to be faster and more consistent than with the older model, but I never found any general problem with any of its lenses. Samsung also utilises an electronic image magnifier by means of which you can tweak the focus manually for greatest accuracy. On the relatively few occasions where I felt that I needed to use it, it was of great help. The camera now uses the same 105-point phase detection and 247-point contrast detection system as used on the recent NX300 and Galaxy NX, both way beyond the NX20's system, and it should be defeated by far fewer situations; it is also capable of greater accuracy in lower lighting levels than was previously possible. For those occasions when the system needs a helping hand, the focus assist LED is there to be automatically used when required.

WiFi connectivity is retained which is less unique now than when Samsung first included it on the NX20 and with NFC capability, should you have a compatible device; some tablets, smart phones and other devices support NFC, but not all. It also offers full HD (1920 x 1080) movie recording although there are a number of alternatives from other brands at a similar RRP that now offer 4K movie capability. Shooting speed is now improved, up to 9 frames continuously, but these will take some time to write to its storage card. Top shutter speed is now 1/8000 sec but the slowest is still 30 seconds when manually set or Bulb.

The camera offers several white balance settings in addition to Auto, which usually works well even in tricky mixed lighting environments (for example, in an open market with daylight, tungsten, halogen and fluorescent lights each in broadly similar proportions). If shooting JPG only, you could try several frames at different white balance settings and choose the best; if shooting RAW or RAW + JPG, choose Auto and adjust in software. Most other settings such as ISO, aperture, shutter speed and its many digital filter effects can be changed via its menus and from the touch screen. There are several options for bracketing settings when required. You have a choice of three image proportions - 1:1, 3:2 and 16:9 and several degrees of resolution for each; 4:3 could easily have been added as it is quite popular and well-suited to some subjects (e.g. portraits).

Samsung's metering system was very accurate in the NX20 and should be at least equal in the NX30. Samsung claim no specific improvements, but none were needed.

Samsung's i-Launcher package, Backup software and its full manual are on one of its two CDs. A fully licensed version of Adobe's Lightroom is on the second which will offer extra capabilities over Samsung's previous self-branded software option.

Samsung's colour rendition with the NX20 was always accurate and impressive, avoiding undue exaggeration or pastellisation. Its skin tones are superb and it could therefore be an excellent portrait camera. There is no reason why the NX30 should be any different. If you want intensified or exaggerated rendition, you can choose it from the menu. As with any digital camera, best results in terms of colour and image noise will be obtained at the lower ISO settings. Colour rendition across the ISO range seems not to fall off quite as rapidly with Samsung's cameras as with many other brands and seems to remain fairly constant until you reach the two or three highest ISO settings when it starts to suffer most. Noise levels become progressively more noticeable after 800 ISO and are quite noticeable at 3200 and 6400 and beyond, but they only become excessive at extreme settings. At the higher settings, luminance and electronic noise will always be fairly high and can be reduced or removed in software but its images are rarely unacceptable. In fact, high ISO performance with Samsung's NX range seems to be significantly better than with some other camera brands.

One area where criticism has been validly raised is in respect of finish and appearance; it is just a little too plasticky for some. Many may expect a few external metal parts or a more expensive look to reflect the camera's abilities and performance but it isn't what Samsung typically do. Unless Samsung have an advanced or 'professional' model in planning, one may question the relevance or potential success of a 'Premium' lens range. The prices will attract few 'normal' users.

One advantage of using Samsung's cameras is that their lens performance across the range is consistently high and their prices are affordable. The lens range is not as extensive as some, but more than others, and it continues to grow year-on-year. Most are broadly within the medium-wide-angle to medium-long telephoto range and usually fixed focal lengths, but the extreme wide-angles and telephotos, and wide- and tele-zooms are poorly represented although there are a few exceptions. Unfortunately, there are limited available alternatives from the independent lens manufacturers as very few support the NX mount.

The camera performs exceptionally well in areas such as focus speed and accuracy, colour rendition, exposure etc. It handles well, far better than did its predecessor, which showed few serious issues. If you are to be building a system with another 2 or 3 lenses, this is an excellent point from which to start. With its other areas of excellence, you should have many reasons to be very satisfied with your choice.


Theirs Is The Glory [DVD]
Theirs Is The Glory [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stanley Maxted
Price: 5.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not free of faults, but it is to be re-mastered, 8 July 2014
This review is from: Theirs Is The Glory [DVD] (DVD)
Watched with someone who had bought this as it is loosely connected with some books we are both currently reading. It is a compilation of newsreel footage with recreated scenes with supposedly original participants reliving their experiences a year after the event. Such footage appeares to predominate over the newsreels.

Although many wartime dramas and documentaries were and are sometimes now to be seen on TV, this may never have been among them.

Unfortunately, this release is showing signs of age. The sound quality is often only just acceptable and is scratchy. The video quality is barely any better. However, many have said that it provides a faithful impression of the experiences of those involved, and that may be so but in its present state it does not best serve itself or the viewer.

Having met or worked with several former soldiers who fought at Arnhem, none had the rather clipped and artificial accents that are to be heard here and, even among Army officers known in later years, they were found in few regiments. This film may not therefore have been intended for public viewing.

When writing this review, it was learned that it is soon to be re-released after remastering. Audio and video quality may then be as good as new and it may be worthwhile waiting.


Journey's End: Bomber Command's Battle from Arnhem to Dresden and Beyond (Bomber War Trilogy 3)
Journey's End: Bomber Command's Battle from Arnhem to Dresden and Beyond (Bomber War Trilogy 3)
by Kevin Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Final part of a trilogy; shows why those men deserve our understanding and gratitude. A worthy story, 8 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The third and final part of Kevin Wilson's factual trilogy about the RAF's Bomber Command during the Second World War.

References within another author's work were made solely to the second volume of the trilogy and individuals named within it but did not mention that it was one part of three. That volume was purchased in isolation but, after discovering that it was part of a trilogy, the remainder had since been purchased.

This third volume concerns itself primarily with the final months of the War from February 1945 until its end in May of that year and includes the dramatic raids on Dresden which laid waste to the ancient city. Unlike raids on other cities that may have been intended to damage or destroy infrastructure such as railways, docks, aircraft or armaments factories, or to disrupt fuel production and distribution, Dresden did not have them to any major extent or at all. Civilian casualties were dramatic and many survivors displaced from their homes. Arguments for and against the decision to bomb not once but repeatedly by have never quite ended.

Interviews with and information ultimately provided by those actively involved during those final weeks and months provide the backbone for the book. Its stories may be sometimes very similar but also very different. Many crews had a unique and distinctive character that was essentially different from others; up to 7 or 8 men of very different backgrounds, nationalities and attitudes who may have stayed as a crew for full tour of 30 or 35 sorties and therefore worked well as a team or they may have seen several changes as men were injured, lost, re-assigned or replaced for other reasons. Attitudes were very different than those of today and a degree of fatalism existed. A crew member might meet a woman, get married and the woman be widowed all within the space of a month or two. A few weeks or months later, she would remarry. It was their way of accepting what life provided and getting on with it as best possible.

Although there was a perception that the end of the War was approaching, the fighting was continuing and there were still sorties to fly. Men and machines could and would be lost even in the War's final days, although losses were getting much lower, in part because the Germans were running low on planes and the men and fuel to fly them.

The book, and series which collectively look at the final 30 months of the War, is a valuable resource and the heroism of those concerned displayed in overcoming the challenges they frequently faced, sometimes several nights in succession and without sufficient rest, needs to recognised, understood and appreciated.


Bomber Boys: The RAF Offensive of 1943: The Ruhr, the Dambusters and Bloody Berlin (Bomber War Trilogy 1)
Bomber Boys: The RAF Offensive of 1943: The Ruhr, the Dambusters and Bloody Berlin (Bomber War Trilogy 1)
by Kevin Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping true story of many former RAF bomber crews during WW2, 8 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The first part of Kevin Wilson's factual trilogy about the RAF's Bomber Command during the Second World War.

References within another author's work were made solely to the second volume of the trilogy and individuals named within it but did not mention that it was one part of three. That volume was purchased in isolation but, after discovering that it was part of a trilogy, the remainder had since been purchased.

This volume concentrates on the campaigns of 1943. This was the period of the War when Allied successes were frequent and becoming the norm; from 1939-42, Germany was able to achieve most of its aims with apparent ease and at alarming speed by overwhelming opposition with attacks by land and air but their successes became harder to find and to secure. The so-called submarine war had turned around from Germany's advantage and more of their submarines were sunk than were Allied or friendly merchant vessels, the Battle of Stalingrad had ended and Rommel's troops were vanquished at Alamein.

Bomber Command had started to utilise its 'Big Wing' system whereby hundreds and sometimes up to 13 or 1400 aircraft would attack a single target and airborne radar became available. Although initially basic and unreliable, it provided a means to identify the towns and cities and thus to concentrate the bombs on a far narrower area and to do far more damage as a result. Factory production, railways, fuel distribution and Germany's major cities became regular targets.

Some of the most significant of the 1943 raids were those on the production areas of the Ruhr valley and the single raid on its dams. The intention was to cause such damage to industry and electricity production that it could take at least several months to repair and make good. The Dambusters raid required a new weapon and a modified aircraft to carry it. Crews needed to be trained to deal with the problems that the task highlighted, all outside previous experiences. Some of the skills they learned, although many of those on the raid were lost, would prove useful later. Also included were some of the earliest large-scale raids on Berlin which were considered among the most dangerous due to the city's intensive defenses. Earlier Berlin raids had involved much smaller numbers of aircraft and were more for propaganda effect than attempts to cause serious damage.

The book is mostly based upon interviews with some of the men involved during the period covered or the stories they left behind. The same method was used for the remainder of the trilogy. It demonstrates some of their problems, their attitudes and how they coped with the circumstances thrown at them. Coping meant displaying behaviours that would not have been acceptable at other times or in different situations; it was then accepted as 'normal'. They simply lived their lives for that day as tomorrow might not arrive. Their life expectancy was often counted in the number of flown sorties and most losses were suffered before they flew their fifth. Most of the crew members were very young and some would never see their 20th birthday; the older and more experienced were mostly under 30.

Highly informative and it provides a valuable resource for future generations. It also allows an understanding and appreciation of what was achieved and those that participated in it.


Journey Together [DVD] [1943]
Journey Together [DVD] [1943]
Dvd ~ Richard Attenborough

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adequate rather than good, a dated and almost unknown curiosity worth watching once or twice, 7 July 2014
'Journey Together' is one of many British films made during or about WWII. Had it been released earlier in the War, it would have been regarded as propaganda and a morale booster but its release late in the proceedings has to be questioned and doubt raised about motives and purpose unless intended as a retrospective. It provides an insight into the nature of pilot training and the challenges the candidates had to face. Facilities for pilot training within the UK were very limited and most were sent to Canada or the US for initial training and sometimes for conversion to the marques used by the RAF. In reality, all pilot training was winding down by February/March 1945 as victory was then all but assured. Also, as progressively little of Germany remained under Nazi control, bombing raids were fewer and fighter protection less essential, losses fell almost to zero and future needs for pilots were minimal. Some were sent to the Far East for the war against Japan.

As with many British-made films of similar nature made during the war years it has a mainly male cast, mostly established or semi-established names of theatre or cinema and often serving (or had served) in one of the armed services, although not invariably; in this instance all were RAF personnel. Three of the better-known British stars of this were Richard Attenborough who made his name in several similar films of the period, Jack Watling whose first important role was in another war movie 'We Dive at Dawn' and David Tomlinson one of whose earlier roles was in the tongue-in-cheek wartime romp 'Pimpernel Smith'. Edward G. Robinson, best known for his many 1930s gangster movies, is a surprising and minor cameo inclusion in the cast list as is another American star from the silent era and early talkies, Bessie Love. Directed by Roy Boulting and made by the RAF Film Unit, it is now a rare oddity.

The film needs to be viewed as a product of its time and for the viewer to consider the intense pressures to secure sufficient pilots for Britain's wartime needs. As efforts increased in 1943/4 and the numbers of bombers and fighters on a sortie could reach several hundreds and occasionally exceeded 1,000, the losses of men might exceed 300 killed, wounded or captured per sortie (about 700 was the highest recorded in one day). Such levels were unsustainable long-term. Fortunately, in the War's final months air supremacy was gained and few enemy aircraft were seen or encountered so losses fell, sometimes even to zero.

This film tells the story of a number of wannabe pilots and the training they received. In reality, not all would pass and mostly for visual problems; night or colour blindness and poor 3D or height perception were relatively frequent issues. They may have failed to attain the necessary level of flying skills sufficiently quickly and they could then be retrained as navigators, wireless operators, gunners or bomb aimers.

The film shows the differences in self-consideration between those that passed their course and those who did not and who may consider themselves as failures. Where the successful candidates might be publicly admired (pilots, and especially fighter pilots, were the 'glamour boys' early in the War), those not making the grade might lose morale. However, even if they failed to make the grade as pilots, it did not mean that they could not be capable in another role and the film shows that as achievable once confidence was acquired.

The film will now be seen as dated and many of its themes will be unfamiliar to a modern audience. Curiously, its packaging describes it as a 'documentary', which was possibly how it was originally described, but it is more correctly a drama-documentary.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20