By Paul Mackenzie
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Additional resources for British War Films, 1939-1945: The Cinema and the Services
O. Verney of the Directorate of Public Relations wrote, 'are very good indeed/118 The Royal Air Force, perhaps because it obtained the lion's share of resources during the rearmament efforts of the 19308 and was already receiving a good deal of publicity through newsreel footage of the Hendon air pageants, was the last of the services to involve itself in feature films. There were, to be sure, recruiting films, such as John Bettes' fifty-minute RAF (Gaumont-British Instructional, 1935), in which were covered 'many incidents in the life of members of the RAF, from the time they enter until they take charge of aircraft'.
A combination of technical difficulties, official suspicion, and red tape difficulties created obstructions which propagandists both inside and outside the Air Ministry found difficult to overcome. 20 As the British Hollywood actor David Niven discovered when he tried to enlist in the RAF after returning to Britain in the autumn of 1939, just as The Lion Has Wings was appearing, the cinema and those associated with it were still regarded with extreme distaste in some quarters. I was directed to the office of a certain Group Captain [at the Air Ministry].
Month after month of optimistic reports did not seem to yield much in the way of tangible result. In particular those few target photographs released by the Air Ministry were often too unclear to support the assertions made for a particular raid.
British War Films, 1939-1945: The Cinema and the Services by Paul Mackenzie
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