The Lion Has Wings (UK 1939)

Rating: **
Review Date: 7/1/18
Cast: Ralph Richardson, Merle Oberon, June Duprez

Production on "The Thief Of Bagdad" (1940) was suspended in 1939 when England entered World War II. In the interim, producer Alexander Korda created this British propaganda film with the same cast and crew, cutting together archive footage and expounding on the reasons why England must go to war. A large portion of the film focuses on the newly formed Royal Air Force and the vital role they will play in the upcoming conflict. The propaganda angle is hard to swallow and attempts to convince people that England is ready and well prepared, while an earlier film called "The Gap" (1937) demonstrated exactly the opposite. While the actual archive footage of Hitler, the Nazi war machine, and the R.A.F. are fascinating, the dramatic moments are hokey and contrived nonsense. Merle Oberon's baffling closing speech about going to war for freedom, beauty, truth, and kindness is awkward and mind-boggling.