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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Phantoms Brood and Mourn.
In the County of Wiltshire where I live, there are a number of abandoned old World War two airfields. They are mostly overgrown now. Sometimes you may still find a rusty old nissan hut or a small crumbling stretch of exposed runway. They stand as mute testament to a time when our very shores were threatened by Nazi Germany and we were exposed to the depredations of the...
Published on 15 Jun 2009 by Bob Salter

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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
It was not even worth one star because it is a defective film,( would not even start in my DVD player) and therefore needs the seller to give me another copy. My DVD player is fine with other films, and I was promised in my phone call to Amazon several days ago that I would hear from the seller. It has not happened and therefore the money spent was wasted.
Published 23 months ago by benny goodman


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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Phantoms Brood and Mourn., 15 Jun 2009
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
In the County of Wiltshire where I live, there are a number of abandoned old World War two airfields. They are mostly overgrown now. Sometimes you may still find a rusty old nissan hut or a small crumbling stretch of exposed runway. They stand as mute testament to a time when our very shores were threatened by Nazi Germany and we were exposed to the depredations of the Luftwafe. Young men flew into battle from these airfields to protect our freedom. Many never returned. This film is all about them.

The title of the film "The Way to the Stars" is taken from the Latin motto of the RAF. The film was directed by Anthony Asquith and the screenplay was partly written by the great playwright Terence Rattigan, who was well qualified as he served as a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF during the war. It is largely based on his own experiences during that conflict. The film boasts a wonderful cast of great British actors.

The film is set largely around the fictional RAF station of Halfpenny field and the nearby village of Shepley. It is set between 1940 and 1944. John Mills plays a new young Pilot Officer just arrived at the base. He is greeted by a Flight Lieutenant played by Michael Redgrave. The more experienced Redgrave shows the inexperienced Mills the ropes. He is a quick learner and soon becomes the much respected pilot of a Bristol Blenheim. We then watch the characters lives unfold around the air base and the village. We see their loves and the human tragedy when some fail to return from their dangerous missions. We later see the Americans in their Flying Fortresses enter the fray in their ebullient and colourful manner.

Although there is very little in this film to excite the viewer who wants to see lots of action, this in no way lessens the strong impact of the film. The terrible risks and the stresses involved in those perilous missions are well conveyed through the simple human responses to tragic loss. This is told through the servicemen on the base, the villagers of Shepley and the loved ones. The acting is superb. Redgrave and Mills are perfectly cast as the typical RAF Officer of the period, although the handle bar moustaches were sadly lacking. Trevor Howard turns in a brief but effective performance as the young Squadron Leader. This was only his second film role and his first that was credited. Stanley Holloway gives a lovely comic performance as a local wag who props up the bar in the local, and Rosamund John provides a very pretty love interest for Redgrave. That great old British screen veteran Basil Radford provides wonderful support.

The film evokes a very realistic picture of the period, so my Mother tells me, and she should know. This gives it a freshness to this day. On watching the village scenes today it is a bit like looking through a glass darkly to glimpse a more innocent and contented era. All this despite the problems that beset our nation at that time. Those deserted airfields are now a place where phantoms come to brood and mourn. We should not forget the sacrifices that those many young men from the RAF and the USAAF made during our Country's desperate hour of need. This film is a fitting elegy to their memory. The film is worthy of the full restoration package, but until that time this will have to suffice. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Way To The Stars (1945) ... John Mills ... Anthony Asquith (Director) (2011)", 22 May 2011
By 
J. Lovins "Mr. Jim" (Missouri-USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Way To The Stars [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
VCI Entertainment and Two Cities Films presents "THE WAY TO THE STARS" (aka: Johnny In The Clouds) (1945) (109 min/B&W) -- Starring Michael Redgrave, John Mills, Rosamund John, Douglass Montgomery, Renée Asherson, Stanley Holloway, Basil Radford,Felix Aylmer, Bonar Colleano, Joyce Carey & Trevor Howard

Directed by Anthony Asquith

Another winner from the British Invasion released by VCI. The film catches the sustained mood of hope and fear, punctuated by moments of terror, hilarity, panic and relief. But these are moments. The unique thing in The Way to the Stars is the sense that everyday life had to be preserved by continuing to live it.

Riveting and heroic, tragic and brave, understated, strong - very character driven. It has no battle scenes- we see only the effect of battle on the intertwined lives present on an RAF WWII air base.

There is an ensemble of emotions, but the theme concentrates on stiff upper lip stoicism as bomber aircrew are faced with terrible odds of survival, and friends and loved ones make the best of the situation.

Outstanding is Douglass Montgomery in a strong supporting performance as Johnny Hollis, from whose character the alternate title "Johnny In The Clouds" is derived. It is his best work and he is incredibly good- he should have netted an British or Oscar nomination for his performance here. He has over twenty scenes and is unforgettable in all of them.

Look for actress Jean Simmons as the singer in the Big Band at the dance celebration.

Special footnote: -- The film was obviously made as a morale booster at the end of the war in Europe and features an outstanding poem that serves as an epitaph to airmen killed in action. The poem is a parody on one written by Heinrich Hoffman, the title translating to `The Story of Johnny Head-In-Air".

For Johnny (this is the poem)

"Do not despair for Johnny head-in-air; he sleeps as sound as Johnny underground. Fetch out no shroud for Johnny-in-the-cloud; and keep your tears for him in after years. Better by far for Johnny-the-bright-star, to keep your head and see his children fed".

Wonderful chemistry between Rosamund John and Douglass Montgomery, who are good friends and not lovers, they are a joy to watch.

BIOS:
1. Anthony Asquith (Director)
Date of Birth: 9 November 1902 - London, England, UK
Date of Death: 20 February 1968 - Marylebone, London, England, UK

2. Michael Redgrave [aka: Michael Scudamore Redgrave]
Date of Birth: 20 March 1908, Bristol, England, UK
Date of Death: 21 March 1985, Denham, Buckinghamshire, England, UK

3. John Mills [aka: Lewis Ernest Watts Mills]
Date of Birth: 22 February 1908 - The Watts Naval Training College, North Elmham, Norfolk, England, UK
Date of Death: 23 April 2005 - Denham, Buckinghamshire, England, UK

4. Rosamund John [aka: Nora Rosamund Jones]
Date of Birth: 19 October 1913 - London, England, UK
Date of Death: 27 October 1998 -London, England, UK

5. Douglass Montgomery [aka: Robert Douglass Montgomery]
Date of Birth: 29 October 1907 - Los Angeles, California
Date of Death: 23 July 1966 - Norwalk, Connecticut

6. Renée Asherson [aka: Dorothy Renée Ascherson]
Date of Birth: 19 May 1915 - Kensington, London, England, UK
Date of Death: Unknown

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 109 min on DVD ~ VCI Entertainment ~ (May 03, 2011)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, 13 Aug 2010
By 
Peter Nash (Ipswich Suffolk) - See all my reviews
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One of the Classic British war Films of all time with some of Britains Classic actors John Mills, Michael Redgrave, Risamund John, Stanley Holloway and 'introducing' Trevor Howard. Written by Terrence Rattigan with the music adapted from 'The Cornish Rhapsody'. Also starring are Mark 1 Bristol Blenheims, Douglas Bostons and B.17 Flying Fortresses. It is a pity that the film is projected backwards in the B.17 shots!

The Story is of a young pilot new to operations in 1940. His Commanding Officer is shot down and his Mentor becomes his best friend and introduces him to life in the pub of the local village. From then on we follow their lives through happiness and tragedy as the war progresses and Americans take over the airfield.
Along the way a poem gets written @For Johnny' which to me sums up the whole reason why we should not forget the sacrifices of all of those who have died in the service of our country.

Well worth buying for those who like a bit of romance and action, though there is little of the latter seen on screen.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid film, 11 Mar 2011
By 
S. Johnson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a splendid film. Many of the best British actors of the day who had long careers in the industry gave superb performances. They were aided by a brilliant Terence Rattigan script which gave them wonderful words to say. Directed by Anthony Asquith aided by a team of the best technicians of the time. All in all, I cannot fault it. Very moving, many stranded, who shall I pick out for a brilliant performance? Rosamund John I think. She was feminine courageous dignified and utterly charming. No wonder so many of the airmen chose her as their friend.
How good was British cinema in those days!
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic British wartime drama, 2 July 2008
By 
B. Thatcher - See all my reviews
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A very good example of the genre. Great characters and I particularly liked the interaction between the British and the Americans.
However I was a bit disapointed with the quality of the DVD, the sound was good but the pictures were almost smudgy in appearance.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best English war film, 15 Dec 2009
By 
C. Smith "Kit Smith" (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
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I first watched this as a young teen, and it was the first time WW2 captured my imagination. The journey that John Mills' character makes, from rookie to wise old pro, is superbly portrayed. The home front, the GIs, the waiting for the phone to ring, or the last plane counted back: it's all there.

I was thrilled to find it on DVD as my 'recorded from TV' version is totally worn out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific World War II Classic, 19 Sep 2011
By 
Mrs. Suzanne R. O'shea "suzyoshea" (Geneva, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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I have seen this film many times on a sunday afternoon when they used to play them in the 60s and 70s. I am so happy to finally own it on DVD.

The acting was superb with everything so subtle and understated, which used to be so British. I loved the touching poetry which seemed to be the only acceptable way to express deep sadness, eloquently. The American service men seemed so modern in their positive go get 'em attitude. The difference in culture was palpable. I suppose since then the Brits have become more American. The wartime fears about getting too involved emotionally were sensitively portrayed by John Mills, always a fine actor. The classic moaning harridan, who started every complaint with "Now you know I never complain, but ..." was a nice cultural reference of how people were supposed to behave and that they had to excuse themselves if they did not.

Not only was this film interesting on an entertainment level with a good story and subtle characterization but also from an historical point of view, particularly from the ever-so-fashionable social historical side.

I thoroughly recomend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sir John Mills, 4 Oct 2009
By 
Sandra Gerlach "sandrastyles" (Germany, Gotha) - See all my reviews
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I saw him in his first small part in "In which we serve" and buy swiftly the next DVD - which was "We dive at dawn". Then I heave to for this RAF- related movie and it was again enjoyable. Sir John Mills was one of the most beloved british actors- and if you see his play, you'll understand, why. His range was from military characters ("Tunes of Glory") up to romantics and in his later years the village idiot in "Ryans Daughter" ,for which he won an Oscar.
The DVD has good quality, clear sound but I missed a few little Extras, which maybe are difficult to find. Therefor just four points- for the DVD, please note !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Mills and Michael Redgrave, top class actors, 29 Dec 2012
Being an octogenarian and in the latter half,closer to ninety I lived through WW2 and served in thr armed forces so ai have an interest in this type, of film, this one is an excellent example , I am pleased with the service i received. Thank you. Irene
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit soapy, but inventive and emotional, 7 Jun 2011
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Way To The Stars [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
Sappy, melodramatic and dated at times, but also very well done, and emotionally
understated enough that the sappiness doesn't take over the experience.

The film traces 4 years in the life of a UK Air Force base during WW II (1940-1944). An
interesting approach to a war film, in that the camera never shows battle, never leaves the
ground, but focuses on the lives of the fliers, their officers, and their women. That can lead
to a certain soap opera quality, but also to a film that doesn't feel quite like any other war film I've seen.

The acting is mostly top notch (Michael Redgrave, in particular), although some of
the many characters fall into caricature.

But the film isn't afraid to kill off major characters, and deal with the emotional consequences.
Some of the most interesting and moving scenes are how the men deal with losses with almost
complete suppression of emotion - which feels very honest.

Also, there's some real fun had with the differences between the British fliers, and the US troops
who join them in 1942.
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The Way To The Stars [DVD] [1945]
The Way To The Stars [DVD] [1945] by Anthony Asquith (DVD - 2004)
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