Battle Of Britain Planes Restored For Movie Remake
Four of the Messerschmitt ME-109C4K's (Hispano HA-1112 Buchon's) used in the 1969 movie The Battle Of Britain have been sent to Airmotive Specialties to be fully restored for a remake of the movie.
A total of six Messerschmitts, including the only surviving factory two-seater, were recently auctioned for almost 8 million dollars to Swiss company Boschung Global Ltd. The transaction was carried out with the assistance of Platinum Fighter Sales. To date, Simon Brown and John Rayner's company has sold over $100 million dollars worth of warbirds and classic aircraft.
(Watch video of the first engine start in 40 years below)
The Messerschmitts (see photos below) were given to stunt pilot Wilson “Connie” Edwards in lieu of payment, along with the Spitfire he flew in the film. Now over 80, he decided to put them on the market after keeping them on his ranch at Big Spring in Texas. Connie told the Sunday Express, “I was contracted for six weeks and 11 months later I was still getting shot down. The weather was foul and money tight by the end of filming, so I said, ‘Fine, I’ll take the aircraft as IOUs’.”
The Spitfire IXb, last flew in 1973, (see photo below) is reported to be in “remarkable” condition. It flew with the Dutch and Belgian air forces after service with the RAF. The Buchons had served with the Spanish air force until 1965 before being bought for scenes in The Battle Of Britain.
Who could forget Manfred Reddemann as the cigar-chomping Major Falke, a role inspired by Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland. One scene in the film is said to have been based on a meeting between Galland and Göring: when Göring asks Falke what he needs, Falke answers: "A squadron of Spitfires."
Producer Graham King (The Town, The Aviator), who won an Oscar for The Departed, has hired Robert Towne to write the new script. Town also won an Oscar for his screenplay of Chinatown, as well as recent credits for the first two Mission Impossible movies to name a few. King told Entertainment Weekly the film is a kind of personal passion project, “My father lived in London and watched this spectacular dog fight over the city, so bringing this story of endurance and triumph to the big screen means a great deal to me,”
While I have fond memories of the original movie it didn't get many good reviews. Roger Ebert wrote in 1969, "The airplanes are another sore point. Sure, Harry Saltzman spent millions to assemble and repair Spitfires and Hurricanes, and there was even a TV special about the authenticity of the movie. But you've got to USE airplanes; it isn't enough to own them. Some of the aerial photography is very good. We see dogfights actually filmed in the air and fought by real planes (instead of by models and visual effects). But the aerial scenes are allowed to run forever and repeat themselves shamelessly, until we're sure we saw that same Heinkel dive into the sea (sorry -- the "drink") three times already. And the special effects aren't all that good for a movie that cost $12,000,000." (more on page 2)