The Sound Barrier

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In his third and final film with his erstwhile wife Ann Todd, Lean strove to chart the human cost of scientific progress; unfortunately, Terence Rattigan's script, while solidly structured, never probes beyond the basic conceit that an obsession which works towards the glory of mankind in general may wreak havoc on private lives. Certainly Richardson impresses as the De Havilland-like aircraft manufacturer whose passion brings suffering, even death, to his own family, while Nigel Patrick, as his test pilot son-in-law, is solid. But Todd herself typifies the awfully upper-crust restraint of the whole movie, and for all the intimate drama on view, it is the stirring aerial footage, accompanied by Malcolm Arnold's score, that remains most firmly fixed in the memory.

Release details

Duration: 118 mins

Cast and crew

Director: David Lean
Screenwriter: Terence Rattigan
Cast: Ralph Richardson
Ann Todd
Nigel Patrick
Denholm Elliott
Dinah Sheridan
John Justin
Joseph Tomelty
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