Live at the
Royal Albert Hall, Dan Snow is joined on stage by the Glenn Miller Orchestra
plus special guests including family members of both Dam Busters crew and the
film’s director Michael Anderson, historian Paul Beaver and Professor Hugh Hunt
as they explore the history of the iconic raid and how it led to the
making of a classic British film. The audience will include former members of
the iconic 617 Squadron as well as current members of the Royal Air Force. Also
witness an on stage ‘bouncing bomb’ experiment as we reflect on the science
behind Barnes Wallis’ invention. This section will end with a stirring
rendition of The Dam Busters March by the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Regarded as a British classic, The Dam Busters is directed by Michael Anderson (Logan’s Run/Around the World in 80 Days). Based on the legendary true story of Commander Guy Gibson and his squadron, The Dam Busters(1955) captures all the thrilling action and suspense of the magnificent exploits of a group of young pilots and their crews, charged with taking out the supposedly impenetrable Ruhr river dams of Germany with an ingeniously designed bouncing bomb.
Scientist and engineer Dr Barnes Wallis (Michael Redgrave) believes destroying Germany’s Ruhr dams can paralyse the enemy’s industrial nerve centre, thus shortening WWII. After much persuasion, permission is finally granted to develop the bombs and aircraft capable of such a task and a special squadron is drafted in to carry out the raids.
Led by dashing Air Ace Wing Commander Guy Gibson (Richard Todd), 617 Squadron begin intense training in order to master the modified Lancaster bombers they will pilot in the raid. Unaware of their target until the day of their mission, the airmen set out on a brave and perilous journey that could change the course of the war. Back home in the Group Ops room, Wallis tensely awaits news of the mission. But did his plan succeed? And will the planes all return unscathed?
The impact of The Dam Busters on modern filmmakers spans the decades: director George Lucas hired the film’s special effects photographer Gilbert Taylor to work his magic on the original Star Wars; and The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has long been attached to a remake, based around a screenplay by actor/writer Stephen Fry.