Lives of passengers and crew intertwine at London Airport when fog causes delays.
Offering a snapshot of an era when air travel was for many an unaffordable luxury and airports were glamorous places, Out of the Clouds is a portmanteau drama from Ealing Studios that follows the lives of people who visit and work in London (now Heathrow) Airport over a period of 24 hours.
A sedate adaptation of a novel by John Fores, the film interweaves several stories. Pilot Gus Randall (Anthony Steel) has a gambling addiction and gets involved with a smuggling ring. Duty officer Nick Milbourne (Robert Beatty) is waiting for the opportunity to become a pilot. Captain Brent (James Robertson Justice) suspects his plane has mechanical problems. Hostess Penny Henson (Eunice Gayson – Dr No, From Russia with Love) is the centre of a love triangle involving Nick and Gus.
Best known for co-directing the classic British horror film Dead of Night, Basil Dearden helmed this hymn to post-war aviation culture. Noteable for its recreation of an airport terminal on one of Ealing’s largest sound stages, to a 1950s cinema going public the setting was the film’s real star.
Fans of 1950s and ’60s British films will enjoy spotting familiar faces in roles very different from those for which they became best known. Carry On legend Sid James’ cameo nearly steals the entire film.
Restored for its sixtieth anniversary this charming period piece evokes a forevermore vanished age when passengers received personal attention and airports didn’t employ security scanners.
A lesser known Ealing film that should be regarded with the same esteem as Passport to Pimlico and The Tifield Thunderbolt.
Out of the Clouds can be ordered from Amazon: