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Richardson, in his understated way, is powerful, if not frightening, as an airplane manufacturer obsessed with breaking the sound barrier. To that end he sends aloft his son-in-law, who is killed. But Richardson continues to send pilot after pilot to achieve what American test pilot Chuck
Yeager had already done secretly. Not one of director Lean's greatest, the film's semi-documentary style is one of its greatest assets, while its rather dull stiff-upper-lip dramatic sequences are the largest drawback. None of the talented cast members other than Richardson gets much chance to
make an impression. The production's technical achievements, however, are considerable, and the emphasis on the aircrafts themselves and the incredible strain placed on the pilots make for some genuinely exciting moments. Extremely well photographed, the film won an Oscar for Best Sound and was
also nominated for Best Screenplay.