In their own ways, the WWII propaganda movies of America and Britain reflect a national image. American dramas are about fighting units of democratic individuality, as expressed by various (white) ethnicities, united for a common goal. British films emphasize the stiff upper lip of little people unfussily carrying on in the face of death and destruction. The commanders are upper class types with the proper accent, while those supporting them have comic-relief working class tongues. The Way to Stars, written by Terence Rattigan and directed by Anthony Asquith, offers both types in the same movie by telling the story of an air base that in turn serves both the RAF and the USAF.
First comes the English newbie pilot (John Mills), whose commanders are Trevor Howard and Michael Redgrave. We never see what happens on their bombing missions, since we never leave the base or the village. But we hear about those who never come back, and then everyone shows great restraint and utters such lines as “Terribly sorry” and “Bad show.” To shed a tear would be indecorous and in frightfully bad taste. Then the Yanks arrive, stereotypically loud and cocky, led by the quiet Douglass Montgomery and the brash Italian Bonar Colleano Jr. There are also the women (Rosamund John, Renee Asherson) who quietly do their duty and wait for the men to pluck up the courage for a kiss. Young Jean Simmons appears to sing a lively song at a dance.