Out of the Clouds
Out of the Clouds is a 1955 British drama film directed by Basil Dearden and starring Anthony Steel, Robert Beatty and James Robertson Justice. An Ealing Studios production, the film is composed of small stories dealing with the passengers and crew on a day at London Airport (the name of Heathrow Airport 1946–1966).
|Out of the Clouds|
|Directed by||Basil Dearden|
|Produced by||Michael Relph|
|Screenplay by||John Eldridge|
|Based on||The Springboard (novel)|
by John Fores
James Robertson Justice
|Music by||Richard Addinsell|
|Edited by||Jack Harris|
|Distributed by||GFD (UK)|
During a day at an airport in London, many complications arise, involving both passengers and airline crew members. Pilot Gus Randall (Anthony Steel) is a compulsive gambler who is caught up in a smuggling ring as well as a love triangle; Nick Millbourne (Robert Beatty) is the chief duty officer who wants to get back in the sky and vies with Gus for the attention of stewardess Penny Henson (Eunice Gayson); and passengers Bill Steiner (David Knight) and German Leah Rosch (Margo Lorenz) cross paths on opposite journeys; after their flights are grounded by bad weather, they fall in love. Nick and Penny also find happiness together.
- Anthony Steel as Gus Randall
- Robert Beatty as Nick Millbourne
- David Knight as Bill Steiner
- Margo Lorenz as Leah Rosch
- James Robertson Justice as Captain Brent
- Eunice Gayson as Penny Henson
- Isabel Dean as Mrs Malcolm
- Gordon Harker as Taxi Driver
- Bernard Lee as Customs Officer
- Michael Howard as Purvis
- Marie Lohr as Wealthy lady
- Esma Cannon as Lady's Companion
- Abraham Sofaer as Indian man
- Melissa Stribling as Jean Osmond
- Sid James as Gambler
- Barbara Leake as The Gambler's Wife
- Megs Jenkins as The Landlady
- Harold Kasket as Hafadi
- Jack Lambert as Chief Engineer
- Cyril Luckham as The Doctor
- Nicholas Phipps as Hilton-Davidson
- Terence Alexander as Duty Room Radio Operator
- Charles Farrell as Perce
- Lloyd Lamble as Ben Saunders
Out of the Clouds is loosely based on the novel The Springboard by John Fores and was adapted by Rex Reinits. The screenplay was written by Michael Relph and John Eldridge.
The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation co-operated in the production of the film. Technical assistance was provided by BOAC, British European Airways and Pan-American World Airways. Principal photography at London Airport started in early June 1954 with a temporary production office set up at the airport. The film used one of Ealing Studios' largest ever sets to create the interior of the terminal building. An exact replica set of the Heathrow visual control room (air traffic control tower cab) was also built, as filming at the actual location was impractical.
Modern views about the film are mixed. Film historian George Perry describes the film in his 1991 book Forever Ealing  as, "... another of Ealing’s attempts at a behind the scenes approach – this time an anatomy of London Airport, a much smaller community in the mid-Fifties than now. Compared with Arthur Hailey’s treatment of the same formula in the Sixties in his novel 'Airport', the result is remarkably tame. As is usual in such Ealing pictures, and in this one more than most, the background and setting are more interesting than the foreground characters, and Paul Beeson’s EastmanColour photography provides a fascinating record of how Heathrow looked in its early days."
The authors of the 2009 book The Cinema of Basil Dearden and Michael Relph conclude that the film's background and its setting are more interesting than its characters. Film historian Charles Barr describes the film as "an acquired value as a period piece" in his 1998 book Ealing Studios.
The US edition of TV Guide writes that, "it has the feel of a soap opera crossed with a documentary," and Leonard Maltin's review is typical of modern critics' view of Out of the Clouds: "Work and play among commercial pilots; nothing special."
In re-release, Out of the Clouds is the last disc in Ealing Classics 2009, Volume 1.
A restored version, with eight minutes of footage reinserted, was shown on Talking Pictures TV from 2019. The restored scenes can be distinguished by their faded colour.
- The Times, 14 Feb. 1955, page 2, column 1: Picture Theatres - Leic. Sq. Th. "Out of the Clouds" Linked 2015-05-03
- The Australian Women's Weekly, 28 December 1955, page 37: High-flying love story Re-linked 2015-05-03
- Alan Burton and Tim O'Sullivan, Edinburgh University Press, 2009: The Cinema of Basil Dearden and Michael Relph, pages 168–169 Re-linked 2015-05-03
- IMDb: Out of the Clouds - Release Info Linked 2015-05-03
- George Perry, Pavilion Books, 1991: Forever Ealing: A Celebration of the Great British Film Studio. ISBN 978-0-90751-660-6.
- Britmovies: Out of the Clouds Re-linked 2015-05-03
- Charles Barr, University of California Press 1998: Ealing Studios, page 206. Re-linked 2015-05-03
- TV Guide: Out of The Clouds Re-linked 2015-05-03
- Turner Classic Movies: Leonard Maltin's review of "Out of the Clouds" Re-linked 2015-05-03
- Wilson, Adam. "Ealing Classics 2009, Volume 1." Cine Outdsider. Retrieved: 25 September 2014.
- Talking Pictures TV discussion group Talking Pictures TV discussion group on Facebook, 4 March 2019. Retrieved: 12 June 2019.