British War Films Of The 50s

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01The Cruel Sea20120109

Uncomplaining Tommy Atkins, the Glamour Boys of 657 Squadron and merciless Nazi officers with razor-thin lips: it's easy to mock the British films about the Second World War which were made in the 1950s, but the historian and columnist Simon Heffer is passionate about them.

In 2011 Simon Heffer wrote and presented a series of Essays for BBC Radio 3 which celebrated some of the great British films made about the Second World War while it was still going on - films in which propaganda and morale-boosting played central roles.

In this new series, he turns to films which were made after the war was over, in the 1950s, when a new and more realistic approach to events became possible and questions about the difficult realities of peace were beginning to be asked. Where better to ask them than in the single most important artform of the time? As Simon Heffer says:

"From 1939 to 1945 they had all been in it together; now they were all in the Odeon together."

He starts with The Cruel Sea, based on a novel by Nicholas Monsarrat, which, far from romanticising or glamorising war, set out to depict the true price which had been paid for victory.

In subsequent programmes, Simon Heffer looks at The Colditz Story, The Dambusters, Carve Her Name with Pride and Dunkirk, celebrating these films not only in their own right but also for their depiction of the changing world of post-war Britain.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Simon Heffer on the film The Cruel Sea, about the price of victory in World War Two.

01The Cruel Sea20120109

Uncomplaining Tommy Atkins, the Glamour Boys of 657 Squadron and merciless Nazi officers with razor-thin lips: it's easy to mock the British films about the Second World War which were made in the 1950s, but the historian and columnist Simon Heffer is passionate about them.

In 2011 Simon Heffer wrote and presented a series of Essays for BBC Radio 3 which celebrated some of the great British films made about the Second World War while it was still going on - films in which propaganda and morale-boosting played central roles.

In this new series, he turns to films which were made after the war was over, in the 1950s, when a new and more realistic approach to events became possible and questions about the difficult realities of peace were beginning to be asked. Where better to ask them than in the single most important artform of the time? As Simon Heffer says:

"From 1939 to 1945 they had all been in it together; now they were all in the Odeon together."

He starts with The Cruel Sea, based on a novel by Nicholas Monsarrat, which, far from romanticising or glamorising war, set out to depict the true price which had been paid for victory.

In subsequent programmes, Simon Heffer looks at The Colditz Story, The Dambusters, Carve Her Name with Pride and Dunkirk, celebrating these films not only in their own right but also for their depiction of the changing world of post-war Britain.

Producer: Beaty Rubens.

Simon Heffer on the film The Cruel Sea, about the price of victory in World War Two.