An American airline executive, together with his wife and daughter visit Britain with a view to placing a contract for a new supersonic airliner. However two companies are offering rival products, and between trips to Ascot and Henley, the pretty but wilful daughter wreaks havoc (earning herself a spanking along the way...) whenever she meets one of the aircraft designers, who is also a steam enthusiast. Who will win the contract? Will the daughter find love?. This Peter Rogers production was a one-off film. It will be compared to other quaint transport-related films (Genevive, Titfield Thunderbolt etc) as well as the 'Carry-On' films. Whilst such comparisons are not unfair, this film is really its own thing. The cast is OK, with some good cameo performances and minor roles from excellent actors. Some folk will criticise Michael Craig's somewhat stiff performance, but I'm not sure this is entirely justified; he has to play it pretty straight, else he wouldn't be a credible aircraft designer. Could you imagine (say) gurning Jim Dale as an aircraft designer? -thought not...!. An interesting feature of this film are the steam engines, aircraft, cars etc seen in various locations. We get to see (briefly) the liner 'United States' at Southampton dock, the (very 'Dan Dare' -looking) Handley-Page Victor at the Radlett works, with various 'Heralds' in the background and various cars. An Alvis 3-litre makes an appearance, (as does an Austin Princess I think) and the main cars used (a Cadillac and two Rolls-Royces) are seen in many locations, including several accidental ones; in several shots the Cadillac or the Rolls Royce can be seen 'in the wrong place' in the background. Other locations used include the A404 (several times), Henley regatta (which would look the same even today), various pubs (which still exist) and Woburn Abbey, (which is used for two different steam rallies). The Duke of Bedford (owner of Woburn Abbey, and a supporter of the steam preservation movement) has a cameo appearance as himself. I think the stream/pond where they fill up with water en route may be the same one as was used in 'Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang' too. The two main traction engines used in the film still exist, but the aircraft (reputedly XL230) does not; it was later lost (tragically with all crew) in a training accident at RAF Wyton in 1973. A sister aircraft XL231 still exists. Some folk criticise the Victor in this film as not being a credible supersonic airliner; this is right of course, it isn't supersonic and is a smaller and lighter aircraft all round. However it isn't an entirely ridiculous notion; a transport derivative of the Victor was planned, (with seating for 200 troops or 145 airline passengers) in a double-decker cabin. The script isn't quite first class and there are a few plot holes, but overall this is a very watchable film nonetheless; largely underplayed and with gentle humour, I rather enjoyed it.
The Swingin' Maiden
The Swingin' Maiden
An American airline firm plans to buy a new British passenger plane, but the deal hits trouble when the plane's designer, Jack Hopkins (Michael Craig), and Kathy Fisher (Anne Helm), the ...
February 18, 2020