Cinema backs Kenley history project with Battle of Britain film

As the Royal Air Force marks its centenary today with a spectacular fly-past over the capital, the David Lean Cinema volunteers and the people behind the Kenley history project are combining their efforts to mark one of the most heroic episodes in recent military history, and Kenley Airfield’s part in it.

Jack Hawkins in typically heroic pose in Angels One Five, filmed on location at Kenley

Angels One Five, released in 1952, was the first British post-war film to deal with the Battle of Britain. Using wartime Hurricanes, and a Messerschmitt 110, the external location shooting was almost all done at Kenley, which had been a fighter base during World War II. The film was acclaimed on its release for the accuracy of its portrayal of the perilous existence of those involved in the Battle of Britain in the late summer of 1940.

The film is presented next month in conjunction with the Kenley Revival Project, which with a Heritage Lottery grant is doing much work to record, register and celebrate the history of Kenley Airfield.

And while not quite being offered at 1940 prices, tickets for this special screening are just £5.

With the David Lean Cinema closed for a couple of weeks for seat refurbishment work at the start of the month, there’s otherwise a truncated programme, though other notable screenings in August include Leave No Trace, director Debra Granik’s follow up to Winter’s Bone, which brought Jennifer Lawrence to everyone’s attention, and McKellen: Playing the Part, a perceptive documentary about one of the country’s most popular actors.

And then there’s Swimming With Men, which appears a sort of blokes-get-together-in-mid-life-crisis movie very much like The Fully Monty, but with Speedos and nose clips. It is also notable – notorious? – for a “special guest appearance” of Croydon’s very own Clocktower, home of the David Lean Cinema, and with scenes shot in Fisher’s Folly itself… well, it had to be good for something.

Tickets for screenings at the David Lean Cinema in August are on sale now via the campaign’s website.

  • Unless otherwise stated, tickets for all screenings are £8.50. Concessions (Freedom Pass-holders, full-time students, claimants and disabled) £7. Rush tickets may also be available for under-25s.

David Lean Cinema programme for August

All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated

Thu Aug 2 THE HAPPY PRINCE (15) (2.30pm)
2018 UK 105min. Director: Rupert Everett
Stars: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Emily Watson
Responsible for the script and direction, as well as starring as Oscar Wilde, this could be regarded as a vanity project by Rupert Everett, but in fact it does an excellent job of chronicling Wilde’s last days. Having been released from Reading Gaol, he escapes to France and Italy, a broken man, battling with his demons, while friends, ex-lovers and family try to keep him on the straight and narrow. Wilde in Everett’s portrayal becomes the prince of his own fairy tale, disintegrating as his end approaches, while his days of triumph come back to haunt him in well-realised flashbacks.
* The screening will be subtitled for those with hearing loss.

Sat Aug 18 ANGELS ONE FIVE (U) (2.30pm)
1952 UK 98min. Director: George More O’Ferrall
Stars: Jack Hawkins, Michael Denison, John Gregson
The Kenley Revival Project presents the first British post-war film to deal with the Battle of Britain. John Gregson plays a young pilot joining a new squadron, whose unconventional behaviour continues to annoy his superiors. All tickets £5.

Tue Aug 21 LEAVE NO TRACE (PG) (7.30pm)
2018 USA 109min. Director: Debra Granik
Stars: Ben Foster, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Dale Dickey
Will and Tom are a father-daughter pair living in Forest Park, an Oregon nature reserve. As squatters, they maintain minimal and cautious contact with the outside world, until a careless mistake exposes them. With their lives now derailed, the two embark on a spiralling journey in search of a place to call home. This thoughtful and compelling drama is driven by sublimely understated performances from Foster and burgeoning talent McKenzie.

Wed Aug 22 THE HAPPY PRINCE (15) (7.30pm)
2018 UK 105min. Director: Rupert Everett
Stars: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Emily Watson
As Aug 2 above.

2018 UK 96min. Director: Oliver Parker
Stars: Rob Brydon, Adeel Akhtar, Jim Carter, Rupert Graves, Charlotte Riley, Jane Horrocks
Struggling with career and marital problems, accountant Eric (Brydon) finds that friendship provides solace – and in a surprising form, as an all-male synchronised swimming team comes together. Can their coach Susan (Riley) whip this motley crew into shape, as they train for the world championships in Milan? Will they master “the flower”, “the pyramid” and “the spinning circle”? Will they, ahem, sync or swim? This gentle and engaging comedy features a fine British cast.

Tue Aug 28 FIRST REFORMED (15)
2017 USA 113min. Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric Kyles
Directed by Paul Schrader, the writer of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, this movie has a terrific pedigree, and doesn’t disappoint. Rev Ernst Toller (a great performance by Hawke) is the pastor of a small parish church in New York. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, it is now a tourist attraction with a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by a modern church nearby. When pregnant parishioner Mary (Seyfried) asks Toller to counsel her radical environmentalist husband, the clergyman finds himself grappling with his own tormented past and equally despairing future – until he finds redemption. “This mesmerising drama of a pastor’s crisis of faith feels like the movie Schrader was put on this planet to make” (Washington Post).

2017 UK 92min. Director: Joe Stephenson
Features: Ian McKellan, Scott Chambers, Luke Evans
Human beings, reflects Sir Ian McKellen, are acting all day long. It’s not yourself you offer to the world, but part of yourself. This insight is characteristic of a film that continually focuses on the man behind the actor who, at 78, has thought deeply but bracingly unpretentiously about his life, career and LGBT activism. A combination of interview, archive film and dramatised childhood scenes, Playing The Part is “an engaging portrait… I can’t think of anyone I’d rather spend 90 minutes listening to” (The Guardian).
* The 2.30pm screening will be subtitled for those with hearing loss.

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