Actresses, Favorite of the Month - January 2018, Julie's Film and Book Reviews

Merle Oberon stars in The Lion Has Wings (1939)

The Lion Has Wings

Favorite of the Month Merle Oberon stars in The Lion Has Wings a part fiction, part documentary propaganda war film about the outbreak of World War Two, and the men of the Royal Air Force who began those first dangerous flight missions. The Lion Has Wings also stars Ralph Richardson.

Click on the TABS below to read my FULL REVIEW! 



The Lion Has Wings

The Lion Has Wings was directed by Adrian Brunel, Brian Desmond Hurst, Michael Powell and Alexander Korda.

Also starring in The Lion Has Wings: June Duprez, Flora Robson, Robert Douglas, Anthony Bushell, Brian Worth, Austin Trevor, Ivan Brandt, G.H. Mulcaster, Herbert Lomas, Milton Rosmer, Ronald Adam, Robert Rendel, John Longden, Archibald Batty, Ian Fleming, Charles Carson.

Director Michael Powell described the film as “full of half-truths and half-lies”.

The Lion Has Wings was finished very soon after the outbreak of the Second World War, and as a result helped to support the idea of the usefulness of keeping the film industry going during this time.

The Lion Has Wings was made within 12 days and cost £30,000 to make.

The film features small segments from the film Fire Over England (1937).


The Lion Has Wings

The film consists of much documentary footage incorporated into the story. We start with a look at Britain during times of peace and how during this time Adolf Hitler was building up an army. With war looking inevitable, Winston Churchill declares war as Mrs Richardson (Merle Oberon) listens to his announcement on the radio.

The Lion Has Wings

Her husband Wing Commander Richardson (Ralph Richardson) arrives shortly afterwards where she breaks the news to him. Richardson is actually relieved at the announcement from the point of view that at least the people know where matters now stand. Further documentary footage is shown of the production of planes and of ammunition.

The Lion Has Wings

Richardson is called upon to act as control officer during the first bombing raids. Naturally, the atmosphere at the fighter station is busy and tense, with the men at the station awaiting news from the pilots in action as to whether they have successfully completed their mission and are going to return home safely.

The Lion Has Wings

During the story we are shown actual footage of the men who flew these raids. After the missions Richardson has a twelve hour break where he returns home to his wife who has been volunteering for the Red Cross. The two make a trip to the river and Mrs. Richardson talks to her husband about the women of Britain and of defending the country, but Richardson is so exhausted he has fallen asleep.

The Lion Has Wings



The Lion Has Wings

Oberon has only a small part in the film and for huge Merle fans I would recommend the film, but for those who are looking for a Merle Oberon film which features her as a main star you will find yourself disappointed.

Saying that I cannot see how anyone could possibly be disappointed with the film. I was fascinated with the real documentary footage which displayed how the people of Britain were living just prior to the outbreak of war, and of how the planes and ammunition were made. The film includes footage of the real men of the Royal Air Force who took part in bombing raids along the Kiel Canal, as well as footage of the Royal Family.

Furthermore, I was impressed with how this documentary footage was incorporated into the storyline which featured Merle Oberon and Ralph Richardson.


Julie has an interest in classic Hollywood and regularly reads biographies and watches documentaries on Hollywood stars from the golden age. Julie grew up in Hertfordshire, England. She now lives in South Wales with her boyfriend and their two dogs.

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