The Spitfire’s place in the hearts and minds of the people is told through the words of those that flew her, built her and still fly her today in a new big screen film production, writes Peter Lisney.
Many film and television features have explored the technical side or combat role of the RAF’s most famous fighter plane and Second World War symbol of victory.
But Spitfire – The Feature Documentary, a 90-minute film made for cinema, plans to tell the emotional story of the RAF’s most famous fighter plane and why the aircraft is so loved.
The film, directed by David Fairhead and Ant Palmer, will also dig deep into the special place the Spitfire holds in the psyche of the British people, and people around the world, and the almost mythological status of the British single-seat fighter aircraft.
Film production company Elliptical Wing aims to bring to life the emotional, thoughtful and detailed recollections of the veterans who lived through the dramatic days of the Spitfire’s heyday as the story is told through air-to-air filming, dramatic CGI and re-mastered archive film.
Award-winning film editor David Fairhead, who previously directed Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo and who has worked on a host of other TV and film features from The Last Man On The Moon to McCullin to The Day Today, explained some of the aims of the documentary feature.
He said: “Most documentaries made about the Spitfire tend to focus on the very technical sides of it or combat side of it and they don’t look at the relationship it has with the people.
“We are trying to make this film so that the Spitfire is one of the characters within the film alongside the veterans.”
Bringing the story up to date, the film crew visited RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire to film a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s (BBMF) Spitfire alongside its modern-day counterpart, the Typhoon.
“I was delighted to learn that a film crew were making a feature documentary about Spitfire,” said Squadron Leader Andy Millikin, Officer Commanding of the BBMF. “This aeroplane is quintessentially British and I’m delighted that its story is being committed to film.
“Having had the privilege of flying the Typhoon, another cutting-edge RAF fighter, I think it is even more important that the Spitfire’s story be told for future generations to see.”
The feature documentary, Spitfire, is now in the post production phase and is expected to be released to cinemas across the UK in the first half of 2018 to coincide with the RAF’s 100th anniversary.