Wartime tale of a group of British scientists efforts to develop the first radar system. They did it just in time for it to be used in the Battle of Britain against the might of the Nazi Luftwaffe. Without it the little island could well have been overrun.
-This film, about how "boffins" contributed to the English war effort (by inventing airborne radar and other technological miracles), was made to help everyone cheer up and keep that upper lip stiff during the hard post-war recovery years.
The real delight in watching it from 50 years distance is in the acting, writing and direction. We have grown used to seeing the likes of Richardson, Huntley, Hordern, Attenborough, Laurie et al in "feature" roles (nay, on display as museum exhibits). Most of them are now gone, but when this film was made--at the hand of the incomparable Peter Ustinov--they were in their prime and they were playing main characters. It is a little like the days "when gods walked the earth".
The delight in this film is not in the plot (although it is a sobering reminder of just how much technology has moved this century) but in the language of the Ustinov script and in the effortless way that the principals go about their craft. I doubt that any of the four knighthoods given to director and cast were for this film, but one can see in it film why they achieved this recognition in the end.
"School for Secrets" remains, as I am sure it was always intended to be, a "jolly fine" cheer-up story.
Ralph Richardson ... Prof. Heatherville
Raymond Huntley ... Prof. Laxton-Jones
John Laurie ... Dr. McVitie
Ernest Jay ... Dr. Dainty
David Tomlinson ... Mr. Watlington
Finlay Currie ... Sir Duncan Wills
Michael Hordern ... Lt. Cmdr. Lowther
Pamela Matthews ... Mrs. Watlington
Joan Haythorne ... Mrs. Laxton-Jones
Joan Young ... Mrs. McVitie
Ann Wilton ... Mrs. Dainty
Richard Attenborough ... Jack Arnold
David Hutcheson ... Squadron Leader Sowerby
Patrick Waddington ... Group Capt. Aspinall
Release Date:23 December 1946 (UK)
Filming Locations:Denham Studios, Denham, Buckinghamshire, England, UK
Runtime:UK: 108 min
Sound Mix:Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Color:Black and White