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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Appointment in London (1953)


Starring: Dirk Bogarde, Ian Hunter and Dinah Sheridan
Distributor: StudioCanal


Certificate: 12
Release Date: 27 June 2022

Part of the Romulus Film Catalogue, this much loved though rarely seen classic war film is available on Blu-ray for the very first time. Wing Commander Tim Mason (Sir Dirk Bogarde) leads a squadron of Lancaster bombers on almost nightly raids from England. Having flown eighty-seven missions, he will shortly be retiring from flying, but the strain is showing. With losses mounting and several raids being seen as failures, members of his crew, Brown (Bill Kerr) and "The Brat" Greeno (Bryan Forbes) among them, are thinking that there must be a "jinx" at work. Trying to make sure his men concentrate only on their job, Mason keeps women away from the base until he meets Naval Officer Eve Canyon (Dinah Sheridan)...

Appointment in London was a movie I instantly warmed to... mainly down to the fact that the film featured aircraft that brought back many happy childhood memories.

My grandparents lived a few miles away from RAF Coningsby, and growing up, when I would visit, we'd occasionally see the Avro Lancaster flying over. Our grandparents would tell us stories of how, during the war, they would see them taking off and the sky would be full of them before they went on missions - they'd regularly count them out and back in again. I can only imagine the sight and sound of how that would have been. We went to see the one flying Lancaster still in the UK on many occasions and even now when I return to Lincoln we head to both the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight to see the Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancaster as well as driving over to The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre to see Just Jane taxiing up and down the field.

Appointment in London heavily features these incredibly iconic bombers, with the movie focusing on Wing Commander Tim Mason (Dirk Bogarde) who is in charge of a squadron of Avro Lancasters. There's a wonderful sequence toward the end of the movie where you get to witness the conditions these men would have had to contend with during bombing raids.

It's quite a suspenseful movie with a real "will they / won't they" succeed in their mission. Also every time the planes are scrambled you're never sure who'll make it back in one piece.

The movie is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1 and contains a few extras. Appointment with My Father: Hugh Wooldridge on John Wooldridge (13 min, 19 sec extremely interesting talk by the son of John Wooldridge. Hugh talks about his mother, the actress Margaretta Scott, as well as his father's work as a composer. It also goes onto detail his work in the war, which was the basis for this movie, He co-wrote the screenplay, which was based on his original book); Flight of the Pathfinders: Will Iredale on Appointment in London (15 min, 35 sec in which author Will Iredale talks about the importance of pathfinders in lighting up target sites to help bombers accurately deliver their payload. He also talks about how authentic the movie is); and Stills Gallery (51 sec).

One of the more realistic war movies released and certainly one that still hold up strong today.


Darren Rea

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