The Man in the Sky
|The Man in the Sky|
Original UK quad format film poster
|Directed by||Charles Crichton|
|Produced by||Michael Balcon|
|Screenplay by||John Eldridge
|Story by||William Rose|
The Man in the Sky (released in the U.S. as Decision Against Time) is a 1957 film starring Jack Hawkins and produced by Ealing Films, Michael Balcon's new company, set up after Rank had sold Ealing Studios in Ealing Green, West London, to the BBC in 1955. Balcon, who had run the company on behalf of Rank since 1944, left Rank in 1956 and set up the new company, striking a distribution and production deal with MGM. This was the first Ealing production to be made at MGM-British Studios in Borehamwood, North London.
Test pilot John Mitchell (Jack Hawkins) disappoints his wife Mary (Elizabeth Sellars) by refusing to increase their unsuccessful bid for a house. What she does not know is that the aircraft manufacturing company he works for is in desperate financial straits. Owner Reginald Conway (Walter Fitzgerald) needs to convince Ashmore (Eddie Byrne) to place an order soon or the firm will go bankrupt.
Mitchell takes the only prototype of a new aeroplane for a flight, with Ashmore and several others aboard. During testing, one engine catches fire. Ashmore and the others parachute to safety. Then, despite Conway's order and the urgings of others, Mitchell decides to try to land the aeroplane rather than crashing it into the sea. However, he has to fly back and forth for half an hour to use up the fuel.
During the tense wait, co-worker Mrs Snowden (Megs Jenkins) takes it upon herself to notify Mitchell's wife by phone. Mary goes to the airfield and watches as her husband manages to land safely. Later, at home, she demands to know why he risked his life when everyone told him to bail out. He explains that it was his duty and the company's fate hung in the balance. Then he phones their real estate agent and agrees to the seller's price.
- Jack Hawkins as John Mitchell
- Elizabeth Sellars as Mary Mitchell
- Jeremy Bodkin as Nicholas Mitchell, John's young son
- Gerard Lohan as Philip Mitchell, John's other young son
- Walter Fitzgerald as Reginald Conway
- John Stratton as Peter Hook
- Eddie Byrne as Ashmore
- Victor Maddern as Joe Biggs
- Lionel Jeffries as Keith
- Donald Pleasence as Crabtree
- Catherine Lacey as Mary's Mother
- Megs Jenkins as Mrs Snowden
- Ernest Clark as Maine
- Raymond Francis as Jenkins
- Russell Waters as Sim
The main location for filming was in Wolverhampton. The aircraft used in the film was Bristol Freighter G-AIFV of Silver City Airways, a type that had actually been flying since 1946. During filming the aircraft overshot the runway, damaging the nose and wing. After filming the aircraft returned to Silver City Airways until 1962.
According to MGM records the film earned $150,000 in the US and Canada and $350,000 elsewhere.
- The Times, 24 January 1957, page 2, first column: Picture Theatres, Empire, The Man in the Sky Linked 2015-08-29
- BBFC: The Man in the Sky - runtime Linked 2015-08-29
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- The Times, 28 January 1957, page 12: An Ealing Film With A Difference Linked 2015-08-29
- The Man in the Sky in the British Film Institute's "Explore film..." database
- The Man in the Sky at the British Board of Film Classification
- The Man in the Sky at the Internet Movie Database
- The Man in the Sky at AllMovie
- The Man in the Sky at the TCM Movie Database
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