Follow TV Tropes


Film / One of Our Aircraft Is Missing

Go To

One of Our Aircraft Is Missing is a 1942 British War Movie, set — and filmed — during World War II by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Regarded as one of the best British films of the era, the movie features the trials of a shot-down British bomber crew who attempt to escape German-occupied Holland with the aid of the Dutch resistance.

The title has inspired a large number of snowclones.

One of Our Tropes Is Missing:

  • Abandon Ship: Being forced to bail out of the damaged Vickers Wellington bomber sets up the whole plot.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The film ends with B for Bertie's crew getting ready to take off in a brand new four engine Short Stirling.
  • Artistic License – Military: Generally speaking, Allied aircrews that had been shot down and escaped Europe weren't sent back into combat, for the logical reason that if they were shot down again they might reveal the secrets of the Resistance members that had helped them previously.
  • Cool Old Guy: Rear gunner Sir George Corbett (Godfrey Tearle) is at least 20 years older than the rest of the crew. He is based on Sir Arnold Wilson, a former colonial governor and MP, who joined the RAF even though in his 50s, stating "I have no desire to shelter myself and live in safety behind the ramparts of the bodies of our young men."
  • Creator Cameo: Michael Powell appears as the air dispatcher.
  • Fate Worse than Death: It's the opinion of the Resistance that the Nazi occupation is this.
    Else Meertens: Do you think that we Hollanders who threw the sea out of our country will let the Germans have it? Better the sea.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The sixth crewmember turns out to be playing on the local football team.
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with B for Bertie being reported missing, then we see the plane crash into a Dutch power line. The film then jumps back to 15 hours earlier when B for Bertie's crew prepares for their fateful bombing mission.
  • I Have No Son!: The Burgomiester's reaction when Cornelius runs back home, after being tricked into delivering a stack of record albums to his Nazi friends, all with fake labels concealing the fact they play Holland's national anthem.
  • La RĂ©sistance: Initially suspicious, but they wind up helping the airmen out.
  • Les Collaborateurs:
    • Jo de Vries pretends to help the Germans so that she can help the resistance.
    • Meanwhile Cornelius, the Burgomiester's son, is an unrepentant collaborator with the Nazi occupiers, which bites him in the ass later.
  • Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty: Surprisingly averted; director Michael Powell deliberately encouraged the casting of women as resistance leaders.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: One of the ways the Hollanders resist the Nazis, aided by their occupiers wanting to maintain a sheen of normality. In one scene a football match is being held, and a Nazi loudspeaker truck announces a limit on the number of spectators. Which is quickly cancelled when all the spectators stand up to leave, which would leave the players playing to an empty set of stands.
  • Reality Has No Soundtrack: The film contains no musical score. Michael Powell strove for "naturalism" and only used diegetic sounds.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: Likewise, none of the Dutch or German dialog is subtitled, enhancing the English crew's sense of isolation and dependence on their Dutch hosts.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Not that wacky. Though they're fooled several times by the Resistance, the Germans are portrayed as a real threat, and the film opens with a report of several Dutch resistance members being executed.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Frank is disguised as a (rather tall) Hollander woman when the crew is moved between towns. Being an actor, he takes it in stride.