A review of the 2018 Battle of Britain film “Hurricane”

What “Dark Blue World” in 2001 did for Czechoslovaks in the wartime Royal Air Force, “Hurricane” – which had different titles in Poland and the USA – in 2018 did for Polish pilots in the RAF, namely paid tribute to brave men who left their Nazi-controlled nations to fight for liberty but were subsequently erased from history by the post-war communist regimes. This British/Polish production uses the vernacular of the characters: English, Polish, German and French.

The events – which are largely true – focus on the role in the Battle of Britain of one particular Polish squadron (there were eventually 16 in the RAF): 303 or Kościuszko Squadron. Flying Hawker Hurricanes, the squadron claimed the largest number of aircraft shot down of the 66 Allied fighter squadrons engaged in the Battle of Britain, even though it joined the fray two months after the Battle had begun.

Two members of the squadron were among the highest-scoring aces of the Battle: the Czechoslovak Josef František with a score of 17 kills and the Polish Witold Urbanowicz with 16 kills to his credit. Both these pilots are represented in the film by actors of the appropriate nationality, but the lead role is assigned to another 303 pilot: the Polish/Swiss Jan Zumbach – an ace with eight victories in the Battle – who surprisingly is played by Welsh actor Iwan Rheon.

In this low budget film, the air battle sequences were shot using a combination of replica cockpits, a life-size replica Hurricane on a gimbal, a real Hurricane (one of only nine in the world) and visual effects.

Link: Wikipedia page on 303 Squadron click here


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