February 23, 2017


Cone of Silence – 1960 | 76 mins | Drama | B&W


Plot Synopsis

Cone of Silence

Civil aviation suspense drama centring on a new passenger airliner which subsequently crashes on take-off in India. The well-crafted aeronautical film was helmed by former Ealing Studios director Charles Frend and contains some fine heart-stopping moments of tension during the cockpit scenes. Character actor Bernard Lee is as dependable as ever as the scrupulous pilot seeking to clear his name, whilst cast against type are George Sanders air crash investigator and Peter Cushing as a pompous pilot. The film is inspired by true events surrounding the de Havilland Comet in the early 1950s.

When a British Phoenix airliner crashes in India on take-off, at the subsequent enquiry, air pilot Captain Gort (Bernard Lee) is found guilty of a pilot error resulting in the death of his co-pilot. His daughter Charlotte (Elizabeth Seal) doesn’t believe that her father is guilty and protests his innocence to Captain Hugh Dallas (Michael Craig), an experienced flying examiner. Dallas remains open-minded but is handed the task of scrutinizing the suitability of the reprimanded Gort remaining a pilot on the Phoenix fleet.

Soon afterwards, Gort is returned to flying Phoenix’s but once again involved in a supposed near-miss, although the rightful blame for the wretched landing is due to Gort’s fiercest critic and fellow pilot Captain Judd (Peter Cushing) lowering the flaps prematurely. When Gort is subsequently tasked with taking off from India on a warm night with a full payload; tragedy strikes when the Phoenix fails to respond to the pilot’s navigation and crashes at the end of the runway killing Gort. Dallas becomes convinced that Gort was an excellent pilot and proves that the plane’s designer (Noel Willman) had been deliberately withholding problems with the plane’s design until they could be remedied.

Production Team

Charles Frend: Director
Wilfred Shingleton: Art Direction
Arthur Grant: Cinematography
Max Benedict: Film Editing
Anne Box: Makeup Department
Freddie Williamson: Makeup Department
Gerard Schurmann: Original Music
Aubrey Baring: Producer
Robert Westerby: Scrpt
Jeffrey Dell: Scrpt
Buster Ambler: Sound Department
John Cox: Sound Department
Jim Shields: Sound Department


Michael Craig: Capt Hugh Dallas
Bernard Lee: Captain George Gort
Peter Cushing: Capt Clive Judd
George Sanders: Sir Arnold Hobbes
Elizabeth Seal: Charlotte Gort
Andre Morell: Capt Edward Manningham
Gordon Jackson: Capt Bateson
Delphi Lawrence: Joyce Mitchell
Noel Willman: Nigel Pickering
Charles Tingwell: Capt Braddock

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