The Sound Barrier is a British film released in 1952, directed by David Lean and starring (Sir) Ralph Richardson, Nigel Patrick, and Lean's wife of the time, Ann Todd.
|David Lean in Italy, 1950s|
|De Havilland Vampire FB.52, c. 1950s|
|Tony inspecting the jet model with owner JR|
The film gives you a good understanding of the excitement that those pilots and aircraft engineers must have felt during the transition from propeller planes to jet travel - I mean can you imagine - as well as the trepidation of the waiting wives, and company owner. In an attempt to break the sound barrier, Garthwaite crashes and is killed. His pregnant wife is not only shocked at the death of her husband, but is upset by her father's heartless approach to the dangers his test pilots face. "There are evil visions, as well as goo ones father" she tells JR as she walks out on him, taking her baby son with her.
In the end the sound barrier is broken, and both Susan and her father are listening to the pilot on the radio while he is flying. The camera angles here are intense and clever - great directing. (These are my first attempts at animated gifs by the way!)
Susan finally accepts that her father did care about those whose lives were lost in tests. She brings her young son with her back to home and her father, and the final scene sees JR looking through his telescope at t he moon - and you just know where his thoughts are headed now!
Richardson won the New York Film Critics award for best actor for his role, but wan't nominated for an Oscar (Humphery Bogart won in 1952). Today it's probably one of Lean's least seen films - his major movies being The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and A Passage to India (1984).
I give this 8/10 - watch it if you can.