DUNKIRK (1958) B/W 135m dir: Leslie Norman
w/John Mills, Bernard Lee, Richard Attenborough, Robert Urquhart, Ray Jackson, Maxine Audley
Story of the gallant British rescue operation that took place early in WWII. Graphically done, in an almost documentary fashion, the film offers an authentic recreation of the event and fine performances from the excellent cast.
From Variety's contemporary review of the film: "Eighteen years after the event, Ealing Films tackled the mammoth task of committing Dunkirk to the screen. The story of a defeat which, miraculously, blossomed into ultimate victory because it stiffened Britain's resolve and solidarity, offered [producer] Michael Balcon and his team many challenging problems. Dunkirk is a splendid near-documentary which just fails to reach magnificence.
"Director Leslie Norman planned his film [based on a novel by Elleston Trevor and also on a factual account] through the eyes of three men. John Mills, a spry Cockney corporal who, with a few men, becomes detached from his unit and leads them to the beaches without quite knowing what is happening. Bernard Lee, a newspaper correspondent who is suspicious of the red tape of the higher-ups. Richard Attenborough as a civilian having an easy time in a reserved occupation.
"The film throughout is deliberately underplayed, with no false heroics and with dialog which has an almost clinical authenticity. On the whole, it is an absorbing rather than emotion-stirring film."
For more information about Ealing Studios, consult FOREVER EALING.