BLITZ by David Fraser
Kirkus Star


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This whopping bomberama about the London 1940s blitz trumpets predictable sentiments while floating comfortably on some stereotypical borrowings from ""seeing-it-through"" flicks of the Forties--but there are many stirring moments. It's September, 1940, and German bombers are heading toward the East End of London, where the dockside working-class neighborhoods will soon be in flames. And American broadcaster Mel Shaffer, a Murrow type of see-it-now journalist (Ed himself appears briefly) becomes involved in the intertwined lives of two East End families--the Jack Warrenders and Arthur Scullys. Royal Marine Arthur is a pensioner now back in harness at Churchill's underground ""Annex."" Jack is a laborer whose work on the docks has been burned away. Both of them will survive the destruction of their homes, grief and anxiety about their loved ones (two Warrender teenagers are looting the docks), and uncovered family scandals. . . while married Mel will fall in love with the Warrender daughter and be gloriously seduced by a Scully daughter-in-law. Higher-class types are brought into the plot too: Jack's wife Elsie is devoted housekeeper to Charles Russell, high echelon security, who nearly loses his job because of his daughter's indiscretion (his CO son's also a bother). Plus--a likable shyster and a Bertie-Woosterish toff whose dithering hides a shrewd mind and a top-secret destination. There are exciting air battles as seen from a roof-ful of partying Londoners; urban carnage and misery fleetingly viewed; the turmoil and frustrations of newsmen in situ; and expansive glimpses of Churchill among the lowly. Four decades later--the finest hour diluted to competent big-screen entertainment.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday