The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

A lot of the documents have been sent to me or have come from other web sites. The name of the web site is given where known. If I have unintentionally included an image or document that is copyrighted or that I shouldn't have done then please email me and I'll remove it.

I make no money from this site, it's purely for the love of the films.

[Any comments are by me (Steve Crook) and other members of the email list]

  Steve's Logo

A Page for Flyers

There aren't very many planes in P&P films but here is a list of the ones we know about

His Lordship (1932)
At the end, they take off in a strange flying machine with a powered propeller at the front but also a rotor on top. The one on top might not be powered but just give some additional control for short take-offs & landings. I'm told it is an autogiro (or autogyro) but I don't know the make or model. It's very short & stumpy, has an enclosed cockpit and the engine is in a full cowling.

Freddy at BritMovie helped out by finding:
Now as for the autogiro/gyroplane in His Lordship, well I scanned images and looked for those made during the period of the film, nothing was definitive. However much to our delight I have found it on your doorstep.

Thanks to an article by Dr. Bruce Charnov (PDF file)
It features what is probably the only footage of the flight of the de Havilland C.24, a "one-off" tandem two-place, cabin aircraft with its then-unusual 3-blade rotor. While the aircraft was ultimately unsuccessful and never entered production (it is today in need of restoration and on display at the Mosquito Aircraft Museum located in London Colney, Near St. Albans, Hertfordshire, which is operated by the de Havilland Aircraft Museum Trust Ltd and bills itself as "Britain's Oldest Aircraft Museum - Founded 1959") , the films of its flight are stunning, if somewhat inaccurate. While the film shows three people in the Autogiro, which was designed to carry that number, "In practice it was unable to lift more than two people, and was, therefore, usually flown solo."

The autogiro used in the film, G-ABLM, a Cervia/De Havilland C24 is on display at the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre in Hertfordshire (jct 22 off M25) next to Salisbury Hall.

Aircraft in Collection

Here is the photo from the slide gallery image page.

The photo below was taken by Neil Bassett 2011, (taken from the CAA website)

According to the CAA the owner was Cervia Autogiro Co.Ltd., Bush House, London WC 2. The aircraft's usual station was Stag Lane, it was registered 22/4/31 and withdrawn -/12/34. The Certificate classes it as a two seater, certificate of airworthiness number 3427, constructor no. 3427, certificate number 3138.

Red Ensign (1934)
After seeing the trials for the new hull design in the big tank (at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington?), David, June and Lord Dean fly back to Dundee in a big old passenger bi-plane. The registration is G-AAC.

Since discovered to be an AW Argosy ll aircraft. Almost certainly G-AACJ ( City of Manchester) because the only other passenger biplanes with a G-AAC? registration were destroyed before this film was probably made.
Thanks to Freddy at BritMovie for that

The Lion Has Wings (1939)
Plenty of wings on show here. The air show at the start and the dog fights and bomber raids towards the end

Chris Andrews adds:
Did you notice that the German aircraft are British in some (most) shots. The fighters chasing the bombers are spitfires and some of the German bombers are in fact Fairy Battles. The few shots of German aircraft show a Focke Wulf (Condor?), that's the one shot down twice, three Heinkel 111s in formation and a Junkers 52 (a transport plane).

The internal shots of the German Bomber seem to be the Wellington cockpit reversed (the distinctive geodesic frame is visible).

The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
Well not planes exactly but there is a flying carpet and a magical mechanical horse that can fly - as can the Genie

49th Parallel (1941)
The U-Boat is sunk by RCAF Hudsons
The Nazis escape from Wolstenholme (trading post) by seaplane

An Airman's Letter to His Mother (1941)
The final shot of fighters flying off to death or glory

One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942)
"B for Bertie" (a Wellington bomber) at the beginning and the crew's new bomber (a Stirling) at the end

The Volunteer (1943)
Well they're in the Fleet Air Arm so there are quite a few planes around
They mention Seafires, these are the version of the Spitfire adapted for the Fleet Air Arm to fly from carriers. Other planes identified include:
  • Kingfisher, small sea-plane
  • Walrus amphibian, large float plane
  • Seafire
  • Albercore
  • Martlet

A Canterbury Tale (1944)
The falcon changes into the fighter plane (Spitfire) at the beginning to show the passage of time. (Did Stanley Kubrick have this in mind for the similar "bone into a spaceship" shot in 2001?)
There are also some contrails seen over Canterbury. These are probably B17's with Mustang escorts

A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
There's a burning bomber ("G - George", a Lancaster) at the beginning - but Peter doesn't want to hang around there too long
There is also the Mosquito that flies over our poet's head after he asked the boy where he was to report
(Thanks Tony)

The Battle of the River Plate (1956)
The spotter plane on HMS Exeter

Ill Met by Moonlight (1957)
A reconnaissance aircraft is searching the island and dropping leaflets. It's supposed to be a Fieseler Storch.

Nick Dando observes:
The Fieseler Storch is actually a French-made Morane-Saulnier post-war copy; it has a radial engine instead of the inverted inline V8 Argus of the original.

The Queen's Guards (1961)
When they attack the desert fort they parachute in - from a plane of course

Operation Crossbow (1965)
The agents call the bombers in to destroy the factory (& themselves)

Return to the Edge of the World (1978)
Everyone arrives at the island on a small plane

Can anyone think of any other planes in the films?
If you can help me identify any of the planes that'd be a help as well. Please email me.

Other transports of delight

Other P&P reviews