By Paul Mackenzie
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Extra resources for British War Films, 1939-1945: The Cinema and the Services
Scenes were shot at Invergordon and Rosyth, Plymouth and Portsmouth, as well as at sea along the Cornish coast, where Gull Rock stood in for Resolution Island. Facilities were also made available for shooting at the boys training establishment, Gosport, and at the gunnery school at Whale Island. 88 Brown on Resolution, which included in its main titles a dedication 'To the Lower Deck of the Royal Navy', premiered at the New Gallery Cinema on 12 May 1935 to a distinguished audience that included the First Lord, Viscount Monsell, and several admirals.
Even a trade critic had to admit that 'In many ways the film is schoolboy stuff - the plot is naive and the scene of much of the action [Bianco] is reminiscent of comic opera'. Yet as The Times put it, 'so long as the battleships are on the move and in action they are the heroes, and most impressive ones too when they are allowed to play their part'. Even the Manchester Guardian critic, who hated it, admitted that in reference to 'the main object of the film', which was 'to enhance an adventure story with the traditional spirit of the navy at work', Our Fighting Navy 'succeeds'.
18 The changing war situation, however, along with the urgency of combat operations, cannot fully explain the continuation of a hiatus in support for film propaganda into early 1941 (by which time the Blitz had rendered the propaganda message of The Lion Has Wings completely null and void). A combination of technical difficulties, official suspicion, and red tape difficulties created obstructions which propagandists both inside and outside the Air Ministry found difficult to overcome. 20 As the British Hollywood actor David Niven discovered when he tried to enlist in the RAF after returning to Britain in the autumn of 1939, just as The Lion Has Wings was appearing, the cinema and those associated with it were still regarded with extreme distaste in some quarters.