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THE AERODROME (1963)

TV-Movie
Article 2885 by Dave Sindelar 
Viewing Date: 4-1-2009
Posting Date: 7-7-2009
Directed by Giles Foster
Featuring Vass Anderson, Jill Bennett, Richard Briers
Country: UK

In the near future, a young man, disillusioned by the events around him that convince him that mankind is degenerate, joins the air force. He comes under the influence of a commander who has plans to extend the duties of the air force beyond merely protecting the citizens, but of also instituting a new order in which the citizens will be forced to live a way of life he deems worth protecting.

This British TV-Movie is a rather odd cross between dystopian political science fiction and soap opera. If this sounds like a rather dodgy idea, rest assured; this movie meshes them brilliantly, and the results are chilling and memorable. What makes it work is the way the soap opera elements play into the lives and shaping of the various characters we encounter, and this shaping defines and explains their actions; in short, it all ties together into a complete package. The vision of fascist forces at work in a small country town is particularly chilling; especially unsettling is a sequence where a soldier casually catches various residents of the town (attending an agricultural festival) in the sights of a machine gun. After the "accidental" death of a rector at the hands of a soldier, the air force further intensifies their control over the residents by sending one of their own men to deliver the soliloquy, and then replacing the rector with another soldier. Much of the story is told through the eyes of a young man, brought up as an orphan, who must deal with the revelations about his parentage and his wife's unfaithfulness, and then must deal with the consequences of his involvement with several people after he joins the air force. It's a powerful and memorable movie, with the theme of "cleansing" central to the story; various characters are trying to find a way to redeem themselves from the corruption around them. This one is highly recommended.

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