Tuesday 13 April 2010

Bomber to finally make it to celluloid?

After missing out on the 'Lost' Man Booker Prize for 1970 with his novel Bomber, might there be some compensation in the world of films?

An interesting article in today's Daily Telegraph online edition suggests so.

Banker and businessman Bob Wigley is looking to bring Bomber to the cinemas, which is great news. It's a stunning novel - one of the most accurate and even-handed depictions of the confusion and bravery of war - and would make an epic film. In the early nineties, there were plans to bring it to the cinemas but the production was switched by Michael Caton-Jones to Memphis Belle, primarily - if I recall correctly - on account that there were more skyworthy US Flying Fortresses at the time for filming than Lancasters, which feature in Deighton's novel.

The article quote Mr Wigley: “My job is to help raise the money. All €15m (£13m) of it. It may not be obvious why a banker is involved in films but it’s amazing how many commercial ideas you have.

Wigley is chairman of both the directories business Yell and the property group Sovereign Reversions, as well as head of the Conservatives’ Green Investment Bank Commission. The film is close to his heart. His father was a RAF navigator on a Lancaster bomber during the war. The cast for Bomber is apparently being assembled now.

I've written an email to Mr Wigley to see if I can get more information about his plans for the film. Sounds intriguing. Keep an eye on this blog for more news?


  1. If and when this happens, it wll be great . However given that mainstream film budgets are bloated beyond redemption to give totally callow and mindless films - the recent Avatar , Clash of the Titans being prime examples - I hope that such a wonderful and timeless story , would be brought onto the big screen . I also suspect that the hardware - the lancasters,the JU88s, the airfields, will be a big problem - and this is where most probably the heavy duty CGI will come into the picture and be truly helpful . But then CGI based movies have a habit of running away with the CG rather than the story - and that would be a pity in the case of Bomber if that were to happen. Bomber was the first Deighton story that I ever read and though it doesnt start out as that, it remains one of the most powerful passionately anti-war stories that I have ever read.

  2. I'm inclined to agree with KVR here.(CG running away with the story) Bomber is a wonderful story but very complex and tricky one to do on film. If I had to choose I'd say a miniseries would cover the material better.

  3. Maybe the precedent, Terry, is Das Boot. Originally a German TV mini-series over 5 hours, but subsequently made into a film version of 3 hours. That packed a lot in.

  4. Would love to see it and if the bbc cast who done it no radio it would be fantastic

  5. The trail is obviously cold on this classic anti-war story making it to the big screen, as was the Dambusters remake. With the recent success of Oppenheimer, and as previously mentioned Das Boot, it is possible a big studio could pick this up, but without an American in sight, it would be a hard sell. I think anything set predominantly in the dark takes a lot of filmmaking skill to get the right effect of how truly terrifying the night bombing campaign was for both the people on the ground and in the air.