February 20, 2017


Conflict of Wings 1954 | 85 mins | Drama, Comedy | Colour

Plot Synopsis

Conflict of Wings

Conflict of Wings is a sub-Ealing comedy-drama from Group Three that replicates The Titfield Thunderbolt’s struggle between the authorities need for modernity and the quaint local villagers desire to maintain the status quo; both sides are well represented in the dispute though audience sympathy understandably leans in the direction of the residents until the sobering final scene. Conflict of Wings was adapted by associate-director Don Sharp from his own novel. The Norfolk Broads are beautifully captured by in washed-out Eastman Colour by cinematographer’s Arthur Grant and Martin Curtis. The film was mainly shot on location around Hickling Broad and Ludham.

The tranquillity of the Norfolk Broads is broken when the MoD post a compulsory land acquisition notice in the village to procure a bird sanctuary known locally as the Island of Children for use as a target range by the RAF. The villagers are soon up in arms over the announcement but acting on top secret orders the RAF has only seven weeks to prepare its squadron of Vampires for ground-attack operations and deployment overseas. A microcosm of the dispute is illustrated by pragmatic RAF engineer Cpl. Bill Morris (John Gragson) and his girlfriend Sally (Muriel Pavlow) who wishes to protect the land. When Mr Wentworth from the Ministry of Land Acquisitions pays a visit to the locals to hear their objections the meeting ends is disarray when a drunken Harry Tilney (Niall MacGinnis) confronts him.

The locals believe they’ve found a legal objection to the RAF when Soapy the eel catcher understands he has a right to live on the island under ancient law from the times of King Henry VIII, but proof can’t be found of the claim and Soapy is asked to vacate by the police. Once again the villagers sense victory when the island is declared church land, but realising they may be too late the locals flood the island to protest whilst up above the RAF squadron are about to engage in a bombing run. Thankfully the squadron commander Parsons (Kieron Moore) spots the folks at the last moment and cancels training. Days later the villagers are celebrating their success in the local pub when Parsons stops by to say goodbye – the squadron is being deployed to Malaya.

Production Team

John Eldridge: Director
Ray Simm: Art Direction
Arthur Grant: Cinematography
Moray Grant: Cinematography
Amy C Binney: Costume Design
Lito Carruthers: Editing
Pearl Tipaldi: Makeup Department
Jill Carpenter: Makeup Department
Philip Green: Original Music
Herbert Mason: Producer
John Pudney: Script
Len Page: Sound Department


John Gregson: Cpl Bill Morris
Muriel Pavlow: Sally
Kieron Moore: Squadron Leader Parsons
Niall MacGinnis: Harry Tilney
Harry Fowler: Leading Aircraftman \’Buster\’
Guy Middleton: Adjutant
Sheila Sweet: Fanny Bates
Campbell Singer: Flight Sgt Campbell
Frederick Piper: Joe Bates
Russell Napier: Wing Cmdr Rogers
Bartlett Mullins: Soapy

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