In interpreting the life of R.J. Mitchell, who designed the Spitfire plane, Leslie Howard’s work ranks among his finest performances. And it is an epic picture.
Film [from an original story by Henry C. James and Kay Strueby] portrays Mitchell’s heartbreaking efforts to get his series of aircraft models accepted. His work was looked upon as too revolutionary, and the reluctance of Whitehall to sponsor anything new was most discouraging.
For big scenes there is the reproduction of a race for the Schneider Cup. For sweet domestic felicity there’s Rosamund John as the wife of Mitchell. For a magnificent patriotic gesture there is Toni Edgar Bruce as Lady Houston, who contributed generously to the financing of the inventor. Finally (or should it be firstly?) there’s Howard’s young airman friend in the person of David Niven, as a lovable philanderer who shares the other’s vicissitudes and glories.