Film: 7569

Sport | 1950 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

Film starts with outdoor shot of remains of the BEA Elizabethan Airliner lying in the snow covered field at the end of Munich's Airport. Various onlookers gaze at the wreckage. They all wear winter clothes in the cold conditions. Cut to shot of house 300 yards beyond the end of the runway still smouldering following the impact of the airplane. The roof is but a shell of rafters. Nearer ground shot of the house with smoke still issuing. To the right of the camera the front of a motor vehicle can be seen, along with a man in trilby and overcoat. 21 of the 44 passengers lost their lives when the airplane crashed into the building attempting take-off.

Switch to smouldering part of the plane that became detatched on impact. A man can be seen picking his way through the wreckage. Move onto front of airplane lying in field as two men circle the wing span. Reverse shot of uniformed German Air Personnel walking past worst piece of wreckage. Cut to more uniformed officials standing by the damaged cockpit. Longer ground shot of wreckage with uniformed officials, civilians, and a services ambulance in view. The crash killed seven of the Manchester United football team who were travelling back to Britain following a European Cup Quarter-Final match in Yugoslavia. Close shot of mangled wreckage of BEA plane, then one of the engines and its propellers lying in the snow. Next are workers combing through the smouldering wreckage.

Cut to inside stadium of Red Star Belgrade and the packed terraces. The pitch shows signs of having been swept clear of snow. The Manchester United players are shown on the pitch prior to the match in single file turning to the crowd on both sides. Despite the cold weather they wear v-necked short sleeved red shirts with white piping, white shorts with a red stripe, and black socks with red and white tops. Duncan Edwards, Eddie Colman, Liam Whelan, David Pegg, Bobby Charlton, Dennis Viollet, Tommy Taylor, Bill Foulkes, Harry Gregg, Jackie Blanchflower, and captain Roger Byrne can be seen.

Shot of crowd on packed terraces, before action from the match. Tommy Taylor is shown with the ball despite the close attention of a Belgrade defender. He passes the ball out to the right wing on the frozen pitch to his number 7 colleague. He in turn releases the ball to Taylor who has found space ahead of him. As he shapes to cross the ball a close-up of a young man in the crowd pressed up against the wire fence appears. Back to the action on the pitch and Dennis Viollet is shown evading a tackle before crashing the ball past the Yugoslav goalkeeper, Berea. Cut to Bobby Charlton running with the ball in the Belgrade half. Switch to Charlton just outside the Belgrade goal area unleashing a shot with his left foot. The ball beats the despairing dive of Berea and nestles in the corner of the net for United's second goal. Cut to Viollet eluding the attention of a Red Star defender. He pulls the ball across the goal where a Belgrade defender weakly clears. Charlton despatches the loose ball back into the net for United's third goal. Despite moving into a three goal lead, United subsequently concede three goals to draw the match 3-3. Their first-leg lead means they advance to the semi-finals where they will meet the Italians of AC Milan.

Cut to BEA officials leaving plane on runway having arrived the day after the crash. The snow still falls as they make their way to the terminus. A reverse shot is shown of the officials inspecting the damaged plane in the dark. They move with difficulty through the snow covered field. They are shown in a closer shot inspecting the engines and propellers. Shot of inside the stricken liner, where the luggage can be seen strewn amongst the tangled metal. The snow continues to fall as the officials inspect the wreckage. A daytime shot shows the wreckage now being covered by a blanket of snow. Officials can be seen standing in the snow drifts. There follows a series of shots of various pieces of the wreckage covered in snow.

United goalkeeper Harry Gregg is interviewed in the studio about the crash. He is accompanied by an older man, Peter, possibly a journalist. He explains that he was able to escape the wreckage because his safety belt broke allowing him to crawl out. Gregg went back into the wreckage to rescue a baby and bring him out to safety. On walking round the back of the plane Gregg explains he met colleague Bill Foulkes. Camera cuts to Foulkes who was out of camera shot of Gregg and the journalist, but sitting to their right. He explains that the first person he saw as he emerged from the wreckage was his manager, Matt Busby. The other passengers appeared unconscious but Foulkes explains he tried to keep Busby warm as there were signs he was alive.

Cut to flag flying at half-mast at Tottenham Hotspur's football ground, White Hart Lane. Fan shown carrying cockerel emblem with black ribbon around its neck. A female fan has a looped piece of black ribbon on her white scarf. Shots of fans in the crowd standing during silence as mark of respect for those killed in the air crash. Tottenham's opponents that day, Manchester City, line up wearing black arm bands. Close-up of captain Dave Ewing and Bobby Johnston. The Tottenham side wear tracksuit tops as they stand to attention. Terry Medwin, Ron Henry, Danny Blanchflower, Tommy Harmer, Johnny Brooks, and Maurice norman can be seen. Shot of both sides and officials then film finishes.


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