Conflict of Wings

Date: 1954
Director: John Eldridge
Production Company: Group 3

Stars: John Gregson, Muriel Pavlow, Kieron Moore, Niall MacGinnis
Location(s): East Yorkshire, Norfolk

Region(s): ,


Norfolk villagers are outraged and take action when it’s announced that the Air Force plan to use a nearby bird sanctuary for target practice.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson with uncredited comparison shots by Chris Ryan.

At Reelstreets we do not usually include inside location shots, largely, because they can be replicated in a studio for convenience. Tony Bennett is of the opinion that those in the film at The Pleasure Boat Inn were indeed filmed on location and as such he has provided some photographs taken during his visit in 2016. They can be viewed at Inside the Pleasure Boat Inn.

Tony also advises that the Inn has another claim to fame. During some bad weather Prince Phillip was forced to spend a night there. He was in the bar while Andrew and Charles had a pillow fight upstairs. Mrs Turner, the landlady, without thinking, gave them a good ticking off before confessing, red faced, to Prince Phillip. He is alleged to have said Well done m’dear, I’d have done the same! Mrs Turner was the grandmother of a sailing friend of Tony’s.

Also known as ‘Fuss Over Feathers’ (US Title)


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If you have any information regarding this film, any of the stills, or even better, some NOW shots please contact us.

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Mrs. Thompson (Barbara Hicks) calls over to Harry Tilney (Niall MacGinnis), Sally (Muriel Pavlow) and Mrs Tilney (Margaret Withers), telling them about a notice posted in the village. This is a staithe and boathouse at the rear of The Pleasure Boat Inn, Hickling in Norfolk.

The residents of Saltingsby read that the Ministry of Land Acquisition is purchasing the “Island of Children” to be used as an air firing range. The tower of St. Catherine's Church in Ludham, Norfolk stands in the background.

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The same spot, just over 60 years later. Picture from Chris Ryan.

Bookie (Charles Lloyd-Pack), Soapy (Bartlett Mullins), Joe Bates (Frederick Piper) and Fanny Bates (Sheila Sweet) ponder the implications. In the background stands the Post Office with buildings on High Street to the left.

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Chris provides this image too.

Sally asks Bookie about what they should do but he tells her that he has to leave to gather material for his book. The junction of Norwich Road and High Street in Ludham.

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A few alterations in this shot.

The author drives to Little Withington, promising to return soon. Looking north-eastward from the junction of High Street and Norwich Road with the corner of Yarmouth Road and the Baker's Arms public house to the right. The buildings in the centre distance have been replaced.

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This comparison shows the changes.

With Perdita the seagull flying overhead, Sally heads to see her father at the pumping station. Cley Mill, Cley-next-the-Sea in Norfolk.

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M Skipper provides a colourful capture of the same scene that was taken in 2017. (RL)

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'Old Circular' (George Woodbridge) washes his hands before joining his daughter for lunch. Cley Mill on The Quay in Cley-next-the-Sea.

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Hearing a jet approach, Sally runs to onto the balcony. Cley Mill in Norfolk.

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Sally waves at the plane carrying her boyfriend Bill as it flies over the mill. Cley Mill, Cley-next-the-Sea.

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After landing, the fighter taxis to the hangar at fictional Fallowfield air base. This is RAF Leconfield near Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

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Corporal Bill Morris (John Gregson) and Sally prepare the boat for a trip to the "Isle of Children". Hickling Staithe in front of The Pleasure Boat Inn at Hickling.

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Flight Sergeant Campbell (Campbell Singer) enquires about progress as Corporal Morris and Leading Aircraftman 'Buster' (Harry Fowler) make modifications to the planes. RAF Leconfield closed in 1977.

At the Ministry of Land Acquisition, Mr. Wentworth, who is also chairman of the National Bird-watching Society, is tasked to deal with the villagers concerns. A stock or second unit shot of Whitehall in London SW1.

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Peter provides the comparison for this single shot of London.

In the village, Campbell makes sweet with Fanny. Facing the junction with Staithe Road from High Street with the King's Arms public house to the left.

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Chris Ryan captured a similar view.

Mrs. Thompson tells Fanny that a letter has been received advising that the bird-watchers are coming to visit. The Pleasure Boat Inn on Staithe Road, Hickling.

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Tony Bennett send this shot of the Inn pointing out that at the time of filming the entrance door was under the third window, now it is under the fourth window. This varies the inside which can be seen in his photographs of the inside via the link in the Header Section of this film. (RL)

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Wing Commander Rogers (Russell Napier) and Squadron Leader Parsons (Kieron Moore) watch as a couple of Swift jet fighters fly over. RAF Leconfield in East Yorkshire.

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The train from London approaches Saltingsby.

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Mr. Wentworth (William Mervyn) alights from the train and heads into the village. Stalham station off High Street in Stalham, Norfolk.

A drunken Harry Tilney arrives to meet with Wentworth, driving him away when he's recognised as being from the Ministry.

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The junction of High Street and Norwich Road in Ludham by Chris Ryan.

A red flag is raised in the village to warn the residents that firing on the range will be in progress. The wall surrounds St. Catherine's grave yard in Ludham.

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Could that be the same bench!!

A shopkeeper appears at his door and sees the signal. Ludham's hardware shop on Norwich Road, opposite the church yard and Post Office.

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Tea and cakes appear to have replaced hammers and nails.

The flag flutters in the breeze. The junction of High Street and Norwich Road with the King's Arms in the centre and the Baker's Arms to the right.

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The same junction. Picture from Chris.

Smother Brooks (Edwin Richfield) spots the flag. In the background stands St. Catherine's Church.

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The trees have matured nicely.

As the local bobby rides away, the villagers congregate in the square. The junction of High Street and Norwich Road again.

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From ground level.

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Sally, Harry and Bookie go to the air base in an effort to stop the firing.

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Jimmy the Adjutant (Guy Middleton) runs from the building whilst meeting with the villagers when a bird hits Squadron Leader Parsons' plane, smashing the windscreen. RAF Leconfield near Beverley.

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Sally fears that the bird may have been Perdita as she, Bookie and Harry climb into the Land Rover behind Jimmy.

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The Adjutant drives to the Control Centre to meet Squadron Leader Parsons. The former RAF Leconfield, currently home to the MoD Defence School of Transport.

Smother walks across to Harry when he returns from the base. The junction of High Street and Norwich Road with the King's Arms in the background.

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The same location on a damper day.

Harry tells his Wife, Old Circular, and Smother that the next target practice will be at 3 o'clock. Outside the former Post Office in Ludham.

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The chimney appears to have migrated!

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After a meeting at the boatyard where Smother explains his plan to the village, everyone heads for their boats. These buildings and staithes are to the north of The Pleasure Boat Inn at Hickling.

More locals run towards the boatyard as Smother's plan is put into action. Nowadays, this is Fern Cottage on Norwich Road, Ludham.

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An extension above the single storey has been added.

Bookie is told by Mrs. Thompson and the two run to join the others. Facing the King's Arms from High Street.

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Chris Ryan provides this final shot of Ludham.

The rebellious residents run to the boatyard. The Pleasure Boat Inn with Hickling Staithe on the right. Tony Bennett advises that scenes inside the inn also appear to be inside the Pleasure Boat. The big brass ship's lamps are still there, on the bar, but don't point out to the landlord that port and starboard are the wrong way round!!

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Tony has now visited the Inn and provided this shot of the Staithe witnessing very little change. (RL)

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Every boat is pressed into use to carry the villagers across the broad. Hickling Staithe with The Pleasure Boat Inn visible in the extreme top left.

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Armed with rockets, the fighters taxi towards the runway. RAF Leconfield, East Yorkshire.

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As the squadron takes off, the villagers make their way across the “Island of Children" to the firing range. On a map at the RAF base, the 'island' takes the place of Swim Coots to the south of Hickling Broad.