Q Planes and The Nelson Touch

When we at Spy Movie Navigator watch spy movies, we try to find where a movie may influence or was influenced by a real-world event or another spy movie. Happily, two things from this 11-second clip give us one of each type of influence. Specifically, Q Planes delivers with a phrase right at the end of this clip (“The Nelson Touch”) that has real-world historical significance.  Additionally, we get one phrase that may have influenced the Mission: Impossible series of movies and TV.

  • “You’re acting against instructions” – Major Hammond’s boss tells him “Unofficially, of course, you understand. I’ll give you every facility, but if he finds you out, you’re acting against instructions.”
    • This instantly brings a 20th and 21st Century spy movie fan to the Mission: Impossible TV and movie series.  “As always, should you or any of your IM Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.”
    • Does this line get it’s birth from the movie Q Planes?  Remember, this movie came out in 1939.  The “Mission: Impossible” TV show didn’t happen for another 27 years.
  • Q Planes and “The Nelson Touch” –  Major Hammond says “The Nelson Touch” in response to the above directive.  This phrase brings a real-world reference into the movie.  It refers to Lord Horatio Nelson and what he initially described as one of his battle strategies.  It’s great to see a historical reference in this type of movie.  Q Planes use of the phrase The Nelson Touch brings us to two different eras of history and two different wars.  We discuss this in more detail in our Q Planes podcast.

So, check out this clip and see if you agree with us.



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