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Clouds over Europe
     

Clouds over Europe

Director: Tim Whelan Sr.,

Cast: Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Valerie Hobson

 
This British spy thriller concerns the theft of valuable aircraft secrets by enemy agents. Laurence Olivier plays a firebrand test pilot who falls under suspicion when several planes disappear. Costar Ralph Richardson steals the film as a seemingly befuddled secret service operative assigned to the case. Despite its topicality (the film was made in 1939, when Europe

Overview

This British spy thriller concerns the theft of valuable aircraft secrets by enemy agents. Laurence Olivier plays a firebrand test pilot who falls under suspicion when several planes disappear. Costar Ralph Richardson steals the film as a seemingly befuddled secret service operative assigned to the case. Despite its topicality (the film was made in 1939, when Europe was bracing itself against the possibility of war), Q Planes is played with the tongue-in-cheek bravado of a "Boy's Own Paper" tale. Q Planes was released in the US as Clouds over Europe.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
Neither its vague British title nor its more ominous American release title (Clouds Over Europe) convey what a romp this espionage comedy-drama is. Clearly, the filmmakers wanted to suggest the looming possibility of war, as their story centers around re-armament and the theft of military aviation equipment by unidentified saboteurs (some of whom talk with slightly Germanic accents). But the tone is so light-hearted that it's hard to believe this was released the year Britain did go to war with Germany. Ralph Richardson is a marvel as Major Charles Hammond, who comes off as a cross between Jacques Tati's M. Hulot (with his omnipresent umbrella) and Peter Falk's Columbo (with his befuddled demeanor disguising the mind of a brilliant detective). Valerie Hobson, as newspaper reporter Kay Lawrence, is also a delight; when an editor hugs her over a scoop, she squeals, "Less enthusiasm! This is Britain!" Laurence Olivier has the less colorful role of the stolid test pilot Tony McVane, though he does have one lovely scene with Hobson in the kitchen of the flat she and Richardson share. There's also a wonderful running gag involving Hammond phoning his girlfriend to put off one social engagement after another, which provides the film with a predictable but still amusing final scene. Hammond would have made a splendid subject for a series of these kind of films, but the war (and presumably, Richardson's interest in other projects) sadly prevented that.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/09/2015
UPC:
0644827257225
Original Release:
1939
Source:
Nostalgia Family
Sales rank:
35,269

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Laurence Olivier Tony McVane
Ralph Richardson Charles Hammond
Valerie Hobson Kay Hammond
George Curzon Jenkins
George Merritt Barrett
Gus McNaughton Blenkinsop
David Tree MacKenzie
Sandra Storme Daphne
Gordon McLeod Baron
Hay Petrie Stage Doorman
Frank Fox Karl
John Longden John Peters
George Butler Air Marshall Gosport
Ronald Adam Actor
Derek Farr Actor
Patrick Aherne Officer
John Laurie Editor
Reginald Purdell Pilot

Technical Credits
Tim Whelan Director
Irving Asher Producer
Ian Dalrymple Screenwriter
Alexander Korda Producer
Vincent Korda Art Director
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
Fred Pusey Art Director
Hugh Stewart Editor
Harry Stradling Cinematographer
Jack Whittingham Screenwriter
Brock Williams Screenwriter
Arthur Wimperis Screenwriter

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