A stirring tale of heroism and romance by Oscar-winning Czech director, Jan Sverak, starring Ondrej Vetchy, Krystof Hadek, Tara Fitzgerald and Charles Dance, opens on 10 May.
Written by the director's father, Zdenek Sverak, 'Dark Blue World' tells the story of two Czech pilots who escape Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia and reach England where they join the Royal Air Force and fight in the Battle of Britain. But, their intense friendship is dramatically tested when they fall in love with the same English woman.
For Sverak, "Love is uncontrollable. Friendship is a secure emotion but love is an unpredictable missile. When a woman steps between two men, friendship goes out of the window. Sex is a stronger force than friendship. This situation is quite hard for a younger man to accept, but as you get older, you come to understand."
Tara Fitzgerald (Brassed Off, Sirens) and Charles Dance (Gosford Park) join Czech star Ondrej Vetchy (Kolya), who won the Czech Lion Best Actor Award three years running between 1995 and 1997, and newcomer Krystof Hadek in the most ambitious film in the history of Czech film-making.
'Dark Blue World' had phenomenal success at the Czech box office last summer and is currently enjoying success at the US box office. The film was chosen to open the prestigious American Film Institute (AFI) Festival last November in Los Angeles.
The other stars of 'Dark Blue World' are the Spitfires, supplied through the Old Flying Machine Company, and the incredible feats of the pilots who flew them for the film. The dazzling aerial sequences are a combination of elements - 'blue' screen, actual live action aerial filming, models, computer graphics and outtakes from the 1969 epic 'The Battle of Britain'. These out-takes, seamlessly integrated into the final film, really add to the scope and excitement of the dogfights, as almost all of the planes from that period are now unairworthy.
A press call was held at Duxford on Wednesday 8 May to introduce the film to the aviation world. "I think the story of Dark Blue World will strike a very deep chord with the audience. What happened to the Czech pilots is what the film is all about - it's not about the Spitfires and explosions" says Nigel Lamb, pilot of the Mark V Spitfire which appears in the film. Lee Proudfoot also performed much of the flying in the new Battle sequences. Also at Duxford were three veteran Czech pilots from the Battle of Britain - Frank Mlejnecky, M. A. Liskutin and Nucas Pemberton, who served at Duxford when it was the home of two Czech squadrons, Nos 310 and 312, during the Second World War.
The English star of the film, Tara Fitzgerald, was also there. She explained that the attraction of the script was the simplicity of the love story, but now she has the utmost admiration for what the Czech pilots went through during the war. Although the film was shot two years ago, she never got the chance to fly in it or since so the opportunity to jump into a Tiger Moth was grabbed, and the experience? "Fabulous!"
Blue World', The Exhibition: the dark blue world of the WWII Spitfire
pilots and the Battle of Britain forms the stunning backdrop and central
theme for a ground-breaking new exhibition by Proud Galleries and Sony
Pictures, set to run between 26 April and 26 May at Proud Central, London.
Mixing behind-the-scenes pictures taken on the set of 'Dark Blue World',
with archive images from the Imperial War Museum, the exhibition brings
together elements of the Boy's Own drama classic WWII films - and places
them alongside the courage and sacrifice evident in the archive.