Dubsism

What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

Sports Analogies Hidden In Classic Movies – Volume 138: “Battle of Britain”

  • Today’s Movie: Battle of Britain
  • Year of Release: 1969
  • Stars: Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Harry Andrews
  • Director: Guy Hamilton

This movie is not on my list of essential films.

NOTE: This installment of Sports Analogies Hidden In Classic Movies is being done as part of the Charismatic Christopher Plummer Blog-A-Thon being hosted by RealweegieMidget Reviews and Pale Writer. Together and individually, they’ve hosted enough of these events one would think they would have learned their collective lesson about Dubsism and it’s signature brand of nonsense. Rest assured that questionable judgement in accepting blog-a-thon guests in no way reflects on what great blogs they both have; or for those of any of the top-notch participants you can see here:

The Story:

Battle of Britain actually begins in France as it is on the verge of falling under the heel of the Nazi boot in 1940. As pilots of the Royal Air Force (RAF) are evacuating an aerodrome in northern France, it comes under an attack from the Luftwaffe as part of the German Blitzkrieg.

Knowing that once France falls, Britain will be the next to face the German onslaught, RAF Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding (played by Laurence Olivier) stops sending aircraft and crews to France knowing they will be needed for the defense of England. As the British are evacuating from the beaches of Dunkirk, The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) declares that Prime Minister Winston Churchill has said “the Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin.”

The Germans know this to be true as well, but are caught off-guard when Hitler states the British are not their “natural enemy.” As a result, the German attack on England is forestalled while a diplomatic settlement is attempted. Meeting in neutral Switzerland the German ambassador Baron von Richter (played by Curt Jurgens) proposes terms of peace to his British counterpart Sir David Kelly (played by Ralph Richardson). Kelly doesn’t mince words in his rejection of the German offer; meanwhile the RAF is taking full advantage of the delay in the German attack to shore up their defenses.

But with the British rejection of the German peace terms, “Eagle Day” finally arrives. The code name for the beginning of the German assault, their plan is to destroy the RAF on the ground; once the skies are cleared of the British, the invasion of Great Britain can begin in earnest. At first, “Eagle Day” proves to be a big success for the Germans. Two radar stations are knocked out of commission and several RAF airfields are badly damaged or destroyed outright.

The problem for the Germans is while they are damaging RAF installations, the British really aren’t losing aircraft or pilots. This is a theme which continues as the battle becomes one of attrition. Meanwhile, some internal strife is burgeoning amongst the ranks of the RAF.

One such example occurs between the commanding officers of 11 Group and 12 Group. Keith Park’s (played by Trevor Howard) 11 Group’s airfield are supposed to be protected by Trafford Leigh-Mallory’s (played by Patrick Wymark) 12 Group while 11 Group is engaging the Luftwaffe. But time and time again, this does not happen, Dowding summons both men to a meeting, where he settles the scuffle by reminding both commanders “we’re fighting for survival, and losing!”

The stakes get raised when a flight of German bombers gets lost in bad weather at night and inadvertently attack London. In retaliation, the RAF conducts a bombing raid on Berlin. The RAF attack enrages Hitler, who orders the destruction of London. Hermann Göring (played by Hein Riess) goes to France to personally lead the Blitz of London.

To augment their small number of pilots, the RAF begins forming units of fliers from both Commonwealth countries and escapees from German-occupied countries. Not only does the language barrier create training problems, it also made for some confused farmers in the English countryside when non-English speaking pilots got shot down over their farms.

However, Park and Dowding take note of the fact the Germans have stopped attacking RAF installations to focus their efforts on London. Given such a respite, Park tells Dowding that he will have his airfields repaired in short order. Dowding then also realizes all of t 12 Group units in the north are now all within range to attack the Germans when they attack London. Dowding also deduces that the enemy fighters are at the extreme edge of their own range while escorting the German bombers over the British capital. Dowding has his “Eureka!” moment exclaiming that “turning on London could be the Germans’ biggest blunder!”

Christopher Plummer on his way to defeat the Germans.

That assertion gets put into practice the next time the Luftwaffe attempt a daytime raid over London. The RAF put thier new discoveries to best use; they meet the Germans with a massive response. The RAF fighters are arranged into large groups which overwhelm the German formations. This new tactic drives the German losses into critical territory attack and prompts Göring to make yet another blunder. In the face of spiraling losses, he orders his fighters to stay with the bombers at all costs. Not only do his pilots hate this order because it doesn’t allow them to actively engage the RAF fighters, they know it’s adding to their losses.

This sets the stage for the climax of the entire battle on September 15th, 1940. Churchill himself is in attendance at 11 Group’s underground bunker, The British know exactly where the German raid is heading, and they route every available plane they have to mount a counter-attack. Both sides suffer heavy losses.

But the next day, the true scale of what has happened hits both sides. For the Germans, there’s a bittersweet moment when the order to resume the attack on London never comes. Göring returns to Germany, blaming the Luftwaffe’s loss on his commanders. Meanwhile, the British take note of the fact the French harbors which were teeming with German vessels in preparation for the invasion of Great Britain are now gone.

The Hidden Sports Analogy:

Winston Churchill said of the Royal Air Force after the Battle of Britain “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” As a life-long fan of the Los Angeles California Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Los Angeles Angels, I’m free to say the same thing about departing owner Arte Moreno.

Now rhat Moreno has ended months of speculation and made it official he is putting the team up for sale, all Angels fans should remember the huge debt of gratitude we all owe Arte. The problem is right now, many do not.

I know it’s easy as an Angels fan to remember the last decade-plus of mediocrity or worse. Having a team with such a vast amount of resources, most notably two of the best players in all of baseball, it’s even easier to note the startling lack of on-field success. After all, here’s a team that has yet to win a single play-off game in the entirety of Mike Trout’s 12-year career….during which time he’s won 3 Most Valuable Player Awards and 9 Silver Sluggers.

It’s just as easy to forget that Great Britain struggled economically in the immediate years after the Second World War. Ten years after the guns fell silent, the fact that fuel and food were still being rationed in the mid 1950’s made for a lot of political noise. That same sort of noise is echoing throughout the Angels fan base as I write this. While there aren’t many similarities between baseball and the biggest war the planet has seen to date, the source of the noise in both cases is the same. People have short memories.

Even more specifically, in both the Angels fan base and the British populace there were factions who let the perspective of the present fade the memory of the recent past. In this case, what was forgotten is the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) role in saving the British Isles from the threat of a Nazi invasion. Likewise, far too many Angels fans forget that Arte Moreno saved that club from the evil empire known as Disney.

Had it not been for the performance of the RAF, Great Britain would have most likely faced an invasion. Had it not been for Arte Moreno, the ravages of the Disney ownership would have progressed to unimaginable horrors. As I say that, those same Angels fans are getting ready to remind that the Angels won their only World Series under Disney ownership, and it was the House of the Mouse that was the driving force behind the renovation of Anaheim Stadium.

I think we all know what the phrase “deal with the devil” means…

“Look at all the good things Disney did for the Angels” is what I’ll hear for saying this. Yeah…and Hitler made the trains run on time. I know there are lots of Disney-o-philes out there bristling at the idea of a comparison to Nazi Germany. To me, that comparison stands in the sense that while Germany made an incredible economic leap forward during the depths of the Great Depression, the reasons why Hitler rebuilt Germany would ultimately lead to it’s complete destruction. Dismey has the same effect whenever it’s tentacles reach into the world of sports.

Time to look in the mirror, Angels fans. Have you already forgotten about how the team was used in the filming of the even-more-horrible remake of the already-horrible Angels in the Outfield? That was the warning for what was to come, because that happened two years before Disney became involved in ownership. Remember those god-awful Disney-designed uniforms with the wings on the caps? Not only were they the laughing-stock of the league, but they made it clear the Angels were simply going to be yet another vector for the Disney product…baseball be damned.

For those who doubt that, all you have to do is look a few miles down Katella Boulevard from Anaheim Stadium to the Honda Center…the Home of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Anaheim Ducks. Remember when they were the Mighty Ducks? Do you really think that was a coincidence…especially when the Honda Center is almost literally across the street from Disneyland? From their inception in 1993, the Mighty Ducks were all about selling Disnsy’s movie franchise of the same name…and more.

But the best example of Disney’s ability to wreak havoc on all things sport is it’s ownership of ESPN. They managed to take an all-sports network and made it nearly unwatchable (with the exception of live games, True South and about 80% of the 30 For 30 catalog) There’s a litany of reasons for that, and ones I’ve explored time and time again, so I won’t beat that dead horse again.

Arte Moreno may not have been in the RAF, but he’s about dealing with evil empires.

The point here is when it comes to sports, Disney is a cancer that devours the masses’ enjoyment of the game to regurgitate it as just another mass marketing outlet. If you doubt that, try watching SportsCenter without being bombarded by ads for Disney’s latest offering…built into the broadcast.

To be fair, the Moreno era for the Los Angeles Angels wasn’t great. To be even more fair, the current state of the club promises some darker days ahead, no matter who the next owner may be. But what we as Angels fans face in the days to come can be summed by another Churchill quote:

“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

~ Winston Churchill

Britain struggled in the decade after the war. But then she flourished again…something which would have never happened had the nation fallen to a Nazi invasion. Arte Moreno rescued the Los Angeles Angels from being just another vassal of the evil empire known as Disney and laid the foundation for the next owner to take the club to a new era of prosperity.

Angels fans en masse wherever they may be owe Moreno a “thank you” for that.


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About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

3 comments on “Sports Analogies Hidden In Classic Movies – Volume 138: “Battle of Britain”

  1. Realweegiemidget Reviews
    December 22, 2022

    Thanks for joining, and for that lovely Christopher Plummer gif. And for bringing him with this great ensemble to the blogathon. Hope you have time to join the Muppet one in January.

    Like

    • J-Dub
      December 22, 2022

      Yep! I’m already signed up!

      Like

  2. Pingback: BLOGATHONS… The Charismatic Christopher Plummer Blogathon Wrap Up – Realweegiemidget Reviews Films TV Books and more

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This entry was posted on December 21, 2022 by in Baseball, Movies, Sports and tagged , , , , .

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