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  1. #21
    Senior Member Country: England Elaine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theuofc View Post
    I agree, Elaine. If it's done right, I like a narrator, maybe not throughout the whole movie, but at the start to set the scene as in Way to the Stars.

    I'm not saying anything new in pointing out the similarity of a narrator and a revisit to an abandoned airfield in the opening scenes of Twelve O'Clock High. The narrator is a living Dean Jagger after the war who cycles out to the abandoned airfield that he served at during WW2 and we flashback to that time. An excellent movie that if anyone hasn't seen it. Gregory Peck is perfect as a serious man in command dealing with discipline problems, hitting targets, and trying not to crack under the strain.

    Barbara
    The way Twelve O Clock high began was very similar to the start of Way To The Stars.
    Very atmospheric, and certainly set the scene for the both of those movies.
    Gregory Peck was very good at playing a man on the edge. He did the same in The Purple Plain, and Spellbound. Another great screen actor.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Country: United States theuofc's Avatar
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    I am off to watch The Way to the Stars a second time as I don't remember these points. In the opening sequence, we have an unidentified narrator at a later indefinite time speaking during a series of long tracking shots that take us around the derelict airfield and in the process, highlighting bits that will be important later. Grass is beginning to grow there. Then, flashback to 1940 and a busy RAF Halfpenny Field.

    My memory must be fading but do we know that Tiny Williams has died and is the implication that Williams is the narrator? We get an early on shocker with Archdale's demise and then other pilots killed in action, but not Williams.

    Let me rewatch the film.

    Best,

    Barbara

  3. #23
    Senior Member Country: England Elaine's Avatar
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    Hello Barbara

    I think you have got the wrong end of the stick. cornershop made a humorous remark about William Holden in Sunset Boulvard as narrator. I must be on the same wave length as him because I picked it up. Remember Gloria Swanson killed his character. I just thought it was funny Bill Holden telling the story when he was dead. cornershop being very Knowledgeble, and having a hellva of a memory, pointed out the film was in flashbacks. Nothing to do with Way To The Stars. Well I think that's how it goes, anyway. Correct me if I am wrong cornshop if you are out there.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    I'm confused, Elaine. Barbara responded to our Quotes concering Sunset Boulevard and yet her post is all about The Way to the Stars (the subject of this thread, after all). Maybe it's us who have got "the wrong end of the stick" somewhere?!

    I haven't seen The Way to the Stars yet but the YouTube video Steve posted yesterday inspired me to browse through other parts of the film, where I spotted a young Bill Owen. No doubt, at all, that I will buy the DVD one day but I must say the upload is of an excellent quality. So much so, I'll watch this version first ... after They Came from Beyond Space (having promised Gerald a few days ago)!

    Tiny Williams was played by Captain Waggett's favourite, Basil Radford. Is his the mystery voice, Captain?

  5. #25
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    It's not Baz narrating (he doesn't actually play a pilot, he's more the chap who rubs out pilot's names on the blackboard .). Wasn't it a fairly late decision to structure it as a flashback (which we don't go back to at the end of the film as might have been expected). So the opening may have been filmed completely separately from the rest of it.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Country: United States theuofc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainWaggett View Post
    It's not Baz narrating (he doesn't actually play a pilot, he's more the chap who rubs out pilot's names on the blackboard .). Wasn't it a fairly late decision to structure it as a flashback (which we don't go back to at the end of the film as might have been expected). So the opening may have been filmed completely separately from the rest of it.
    Hi, Captain,

    Much agree, not Baz's voice. I listened several times, eyes closed, and was pretty sure it wasn't. One reviewer, Paul Tatara, discussed the opening:

    "...by the time Asquith and his writer, Terence Rattigan, managed to get the film off the ground, the air base in Yorkshire where they were set to shoot was basically deserted. The war against the Nazis still raged on, but was obviously in its waning stages. So Asquith chose to open The Way to the Stars with a brief documentary passage depicting the empty base, with a narrator saying "This was an airfield." Then the film flashes back to a major turning point in the war." I have Asquith's biography but not at hand to see if he comments on the opening sequence, but the above makes sense.

    OT: I noticed that Baz's name was in larger print in the opening credits than Trevor Howard's and several others., so in 1945 he was considered a higher-profile star, it seems.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theuofc View Post
    Hi, Captain,

    Much agree, not Baz's voice. I listened several times, eyes closed, and was pretty sure it wasn't. One reviewer, Paul Tatara, discussed the opening:

    "...by the time Asquith and his writer, Terence Rattigan, managed to get the film off the ground, the air base in Yorkshire where they were set to shoot was basically deserted. The war against the Nazis still raged on, but was obviously in its waning stages. So Asquith chose to open The Way to the Stars with a brief documentary passage depicting the empty base, with a narrator saying "This was an airfield." Then the film flashes back to a major turning point in the war." I have Asquith's biography but not at hand to see if he comments on the opening sequence, but the above makes sense.

    OT: I noticed that Baz's name was in larger print in the opening credits than Trevor Howard's and several others., so in 1945 he was considered a higher-profile star, it seems.
    Well yes, he was It's actually Trevor Howard's first credited role - he gets special billing with Bonar Colleano and Jean Simmonds which was quite generous of Asquith since he's only in a couple of scenes.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    I think the narrator's voice belongs to Rattigan also. I've checked the Asquith biography ("Puffin") and the relevant 1945 Monthly Film Bulletin but with both "so near, yet so far" regarding an identity. Over the coming weeks I'll keep an eye out for specifically Rattigan material.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Country: United States theuofc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick C View Post
    I think the narrator's voice belongs to Rattigan also. I've checked the Asquith biography ("Puffin") and the relevant 1945 Monthly Film Bulletin but with both "so near, yet so far" regarding an identity. Over the coming weeks I'll keep an eye out for specifically Rattigan material.
    Hi, Rick,

    I rather like the idea of the narrator being Rattigan. Good for you in checking Puffin. I don't have access to my copy. I also haven't found anything with Rattigan's voice on it for comparison, but it must be out there. He's not listed among the special features on the new TR Collection either.

    Barbara

    Barbara

  10. #30
    Senior Member Country: Europe Bernardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josie52 View Post

    I hadn't even been drinking when I posted!:

    WELL YOU SHOULD -- it helps.

  11. #31
    Member Country: UK Ealingfilmfan's Avatar
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    Great film. Some of the outdoor shots were filmed at Bedale in North Yorkshire, for anyone wondering.....

  12. #32
    Super Moderator Country: Fiji
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ealingfilmfan View Post
    Great film. Some of the outdoor shots were filmed at Bedale in North Yorkshire, for anyone wondering.....
    Have you a record of which shots those were EFF? I have been interested in TWTTS since I was a wee lad and am always happy to gather new information...

    Smudge

  13. #33
    Member Country: UK Ealingfilmfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smudge View Post
    Have you a record of which shots those were EFF? I have been interested in TWTTS since I was a wee lad and am always happy to gather new information...

    Smudge
    Well this was posted on IMDB....

    "It may interest some that the 'Golden Lion' in the film does exist, it is a hotel in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. The street scenes were shot in nearby Bedale. I'm not sure which airfield was used, but it may have been one of the many bomber bases situated in this area, such as Leeming or Dishforth."

  14. #34
    Super Moderator Country: Great Britain
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    I've seen elsewhere that the airfield used was Catterick, a few miles north of Bedale up the A1, though it will be difficult to prove this now as the army have been using it as a training camp for many years.

    Nick

  15. #35
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Dando View Post
    I've seen elsewhere that the airfield used was Catterick, a few miles north of Bedale up the A1, though it will be difficult to prove this now as the army have been using it as a training camp for many years.

    Nick
    I have a feeling John Mills autobiography says something about the location (or at least where his hotel was!) but I don't have it to hand.

  16. #36
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    Am sure mention made too in the Asquith biography "Puffin" but at the earliest its going to be the Tuesday after the New Year Bank Holiday now until I can check my nearest copy out.

  17. #37

  18. #38
    Super Moderator Country: Fiji
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    I must have read that IMdB entry in the past and forgotten it (darned aged brain!)

    My late friend's father, who is a WWII aviation historian of some repute, told me some years ago that the squadron markings on the Forts indicated that the base used would have been Grafton Underwood, near Kettering. This was a base for several 8th Army Air Force units in the war and the film was made with the co-operation of the 834th Heavy Bomber Group.

    Smudge

  19. #39
    Senior Member Country: Australia IlllIIllllIIii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theuofc View Post
    Thanks for that, Steve. I wondered if it might have been Terence Rattigan himself.
    I did a search of YouTube but couldn't find any interviews with Rattigan to compare the voices....
    Here's an elder Rattigan here—
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CVZuNrcEr4


    I'm assuming the American Johnny Hollis is meant to echo the Englishman David Archdale. They have a similar physique and, at one point, it was intended that Redgrave play both roles.

    They are both involved with Miss Todd (and Tod is the German word for death). I wonder if it's significant that we aren't told her first name.

    And is it significant that a teenage girl (Jean Simmons) is brought to an adult party to sing about casting off an unappealing suitor?

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