The Man in the Sky
The Man in the Sky – 1957 | 87 mins | Drama | B&W
The Man in the Sky, was the last Michael Balcon production directed by Charles Crichton. A suspenseful drama about a test pilot in trouble with a blazing plane over a built-up area, it was very much a vehicle for Jack Hawkins. The cliff-hanging element was well-handled; less sure however was the psychological battleground and it now seemed to be official policy to saddle the harassed professional with a shaky home life.
On his return from his harrowing experience, Hawkins is asked by his wife (Elisabeth Sellars) how his day has been, and tries to pass it off as routine. But she has been watching the drama played out in the air, and bitterly attacks him for putting his job before her and the children. Hawkins then delivers a six minute speech, a masculine justification for doing a job and staying with it, making the point that if he had not tried to do his best he would never have been able to face her again. In 1957, with Women’s Lib then but a whisper, this sort of sentiment was just about acceptable. In the event, the film helped to establish the type of characters that Hawkins was called upon to play – solid, quietly determined, stubborn and ultimately caring, decent men.
Extract© George Perry: Forever Ealing.
Charles Crichton: Director
Jim Morahan: Art Direction
Seth Holt: Associate Producer
Douglas Slocombe: Cinematography
Dock Mathieson: Conductor
Peter Tanner: Editing
Gerbrand Schurmann: Music
Michael Balcon: Producer
William Rose: Script
John Eldridge: Script