APPOINTMENT IN LONDON. A marvellous early Dirk Bogarde film I had not seen before, this 1953 film, sensitively directed by Philip Leacock, is one of the better war films of the ‘50s. It seems to be a realistic depiction of Bomber Command, flying their Lancasters on those nightly bombing raids. Bogarde is the Wing Commander who has done more than his share of night flights but wants to continue, he is grounded though by his superiors who feel that fatigue has set in. Bryan Forbes is the young flyer who disobeys orders by letting his girl (secretly his wife) know he is safe after flights, much to Bogarde’s annoyance. Later Dirk has to confront the wife, Anne Leon. Lots of regulars are among the ranks: Richard Wattis, Sam Kydd, Terence Longdon, William Slyvester. Dinah Sheridan is perfect again as the naval officer and her romance with Bogarde, who gets his opportunity to fly again, nicely depicted. As it THE WAY TO THE STARS there is also that bar and hotel next to the airfield. In all, a pleasant surprise. Leacock directed some interesting little films like this, THE SPANISH GARDENER and REACH FOR GLORY (both reviewed here , Bodarde, war labels) before going over to American television directing series like “The Waltons”, “Dynasty” and “Falcon Crest”.
SEA OF SAND. One of those British war movies they turned out a lot in the ‘50s, this 1958 one is rather a companion piece to ICE COLD IN ALEX. Here our motley crew are behind enemy lines tasked to destroy a German petrol dump as part of the North Africa campaign, in 1942. Guy Green keeps it moving nicely and the desert is like an ocean of sand with that crisp black and white photography. John Gregson and Michael Craig lead our men, with Richard Attenborough as one of the squaddies. The usual conflicts arise and sacrifices are made; surprisingly the young 21 year old who confides that his wife had a son a week earlier manages to survive – I had him down as a goner! It is an under-rated, well-made example of the war genre with some splendid moments, and a nice coda at the end.