By the late 1920's aircraft designer R.J. Mitchell feels he has achieved all he wants with his revolutionary mono-planes winning trophy after trophy
Leslie Howard ... R.J. Mitchell
David Niven ... Geoffrey Crisp
Rosamund John ... Diana Mitchell
Roland Culver ... Commander Bride
Anne Firth ... Miss Harper
David Horne ... Mr. Higgins
J.H. Roberts ... Sir Robert McLean
Derrick De Marney ... Squadron Leader Jefferson
Rosalyn Boulter ... Mabel Lovesay
Herbert Cameron ... MacPherson
Toni Edgar-Bruce ... Lady Houston (as Toni Edgar Bruce)
Gordon McLeod ... Major Buchan
George Skillan ... Mr. Royce
Erik Freund ... Messerschmitt
Fritz Wendhausen ... Von Straben (as F.R. Wendhausen)
Director: Leslie Howard
Runtime: 118 min
Color: Black and White
This movie, a biopic of R.J. Mitchell, inventor of the Spitfire plane, saw the final appearance of that great British actor, Leslie Howard, who died in 1943 when his plane was shot down by the Germans. It was a fitting finale that one of his best roles, as the idealistic dreamer Mitchell, was his last.
Equally good (but perhaps a little young for the role) is David Niven as Mitchell's close pal Crisp. Niven was always good value and was convincing in uniform or official roles. Rosamund John has the remaining plum part as Mrs Mitchell, and plays the part very well.
'The First of the Few' works as propaganda, as an involving war actioner, and as a character study of an eccentric inventive mind. Howard's skill as a director ensures all angles are adequately covered and that the viewer is rarely bored. Dated it may be (and obviously so given the date of production) but should still appeal to a wide and discerning audience.