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
"Out of the Clouds".jpg
Directed byBasil Dearden
Produced byMichael Relph
Eric Williams
Screenplay byJohn Eldridge
Michael Relph
Based onThe Springboard (novel)
by John Fores
StarringAnthony Steel
Robert Beatty
James Robertson Justice
Music byRichard Addinsell
CinematographyPaul Beeson
Edited byJack Harris
Distributed byGFD (UK)
Release date
  • 14 February 1955 (1955-02-14) (UK [1])
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


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.

Main castEdit


London's Heathrow Airport was also a "star" in Out of the Clouds.

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.[2] Principal photography at London Airport started in early June 1954 with a temporary production office set up at the airport.[3] 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.[3]


Out of the Clouds premiered at the Leicester Square Theatre in London on 14 February 1955.[1] It opened up in the United States two years later, on 31 July 1957.[4]

Modern views about the film are mixed. Film historian George Perry describes the film in his 1991 book Forever Ealing [5] 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."[6]

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.[3] Film historian Charles Barr describes the film as "an acquired value as a period piece" in his 1998 book Ealing Studios.[7]

The US edition of TV Guide writes that, "it has the feel of a soap opera crossed with a documentary,"[8] and Leonard Maltin's review is typical of modern critics' view of Out of the Clouds: "Work and play among commercial pilots; nothing special."[9]

Home mediaEdit

In re-release, Out of the Clouds is the last disc in Ealing Classics 2009, Volume 1.[10]

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.[11]


  1. ^ a b The Times, 14 Feb. 1955, page 2, column 1: Picture Theatres - Leic. Sq. Th. "Out of the Clouds" Linked 2015-05-03
  2. ^ The Australian Women's Weekly, 28 December 1955, page 37: High-flying love story Re-linked 2015-05-03
  3. ^ a b c 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
  4. ^ IMDb: Out of the Clouds - Release Info Linked 2015-05-03
  5. ^ George Perry, Pavilion Books, 1991: Forever Ealing: A Celebration of the Great British Film Studio. ISBN 978-0-90751-660-6.
  6. ^ Britmovies: Out of the Clouds Archived 13 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine Re-linked 2015-05-03
  7. ^ Charles Barr, University of California Press 1998: Ealing Studios, page 206. Re-linked 2015-05-03
  8. ^ TV Guide: Out of The Clouds Re-linked 2015-05-03
  9. ^ Turner Classic Movies: Leonard Maltin's review of "Out of the Clouds" Re-linked 2015-05-03
  10. ^ Wilson, Adam. "Ealing Classics 2009, Volume 1." Cine Outdsider. Retrieved: 25 September 2014.
  11. ^ Talking Pictures TV discussion group Talking Pictures TV discussion group on Facebook, 4 March 2019. Retrieved: 12 June 2019.

External linksEdit