Journey Together [DVD] 
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Playwright Terence Rattigan and director John Boulting contributed to the war effort with this docu-drama chronicling the training of RAF pilots during WWII. Richard Attenborough and David Tomlinson are amongst the Brits hoping to do battle for King and country, whilst Hollywood star Edward G. Robinson appears as a US flying instructor.
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While not a classic as such in the way of Dambusters or Angels One Five, its certainly well worthy of a place in a Black & White WW2 film library.
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.
My hat once again goes off to the brave men of the war of ALL services.
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