Review: ‘The Sound Barrier’

Technically, artistically and emotionally, this is a topflight British offering.

Technically, artistically and emotionally, this is a topflight British offering.

Dwarfing the individual performers, good though they are, are the magnificent air sequences, with impressive and almost breathtaking dives by the jet as it attempts to crash the sound barrier.

The visionary in the film is superbly played by Ralph Richardson. His ambition to make the first faster-than-sound plane has brought him nothing but grief and disaster. He sees his only son killed on his first solo try; he accepts the estrangement of his daughter (Ann Todd) when his son-in-law (Nigel Patrick) crashes while making the first attempt to crash the barrier.

Ann Todd’s portrayal of the daughter correctly yields the emotional angle.

David Lean’s direction is bold and imaginative.

1952: Best Sound Recording (London Film Sound Dept)

Nomination: Best Story & Screenplay

The Sound Barrier

UK

Production

London/British Lion. Director David Lean; Producer David Lean; Screenplay Terence Rattigan; Camera Jack Hildyard; Editor Geoffrey Foot; Music Malcolm Arnold; Art Director Vincent Korda

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1952. Running time: 118 MIN.

With

Ralph Richardson Ann Todd Nigel Patrick John Justin Dinah Sheridan Joseph Tomelty

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