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Twelve O'Clock High (1950)

Gregory Peck , Hugh Marlowe , Henry King  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (303 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill, Millard Mitchell, Dean Jagger
  • Directors: Henry King
  • Format: Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 15, 2001
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (303 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059HAH
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,810 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Twelve O'Clock High" on IMDb

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
166 of 172 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bless them all...bless them all.... July 23, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I do not recall another film whose opening and closing scenes are more effective than those in this brilliant portrayal of the 918th Bombardment group based in England which flew almost daily missions to Germany during World War II. The character of General Frank Savage (Gregory Peck) is reputedly based on Brigadier General Frank A. Armstrong, Jr. Sy Bartlett co-authored the screenplay with the book's author, Berney Lay, Jr. Brilliantly directed by Henry King, we are introduced to a combination of combat fatigue and self-pity which results in the replacement of Colonel Keith Davenport (Gary Merrill) by his friend Savage who is told by his commanding officer, General Pritchard (Millard Mitchell), to shape up the 918th while avoiding Davenport's problem: Becoming overly involved emotionally in decisions to send B-17 crews on exceptionally dangerous missions, day after day after day. Savage immediately establishes his authority and almost immediately loses whatever goodwill he may have had. He applies and then maintains constant pressure on the crews to improve their performance in all areas of flight operations. Underachievers are reassigned to one B-17 renamed "The Leper Colony." Morale deteriorates to such a point that those at headquarters become concerned. A formal investigation of the situation is conducted. This is a critical moment for Savage. If he has "lost" his men, he cannot continue. In fact, he expects to be relieved and begins to pack his personal items. However, for reasons best revealed in the film, Savage remains in command. And then....

It would be a disservice to those who have not as yet seen this film to say any more about the plot.
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86 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story Worth The Whole Nine Yards October 1, 2006
If there is one war story to keep on your shelf besides "Saving Private Ryan," this is it.

It starts with a lawyer visiting England as a tourist years after war's end. He discovers a cheap, ceramic antique which the store owner tells him is of little value. "Value?" replies the lawyer. "Wrap it very carefully" he adds. So begins his mental journey back in time to the English airstrip where he served as adjutant of the 918th (nine, eighteenth) Bomb Group.

This "hard luck" group is taken over by a brigadier general from a colonel who has "over-identified" with his men, thus putting them before his missions. The general, Frank Savage, must restore group discipline and performance before the group disintegrates as an effective fighting unit.

General Savage puts mission before men and turns the disgruntled men who despise him into a cohesive unit. They turn into a group that will do anything to keep from being left behind, or letting down their new leader. (Each announcement of a mission for the following day is characterized by the operations officer going to the mantel over the fireplace, in the Officers' Club, and turning the head of a ceramic pirate face outward.)

But the tough general will not make the same mistake that the last group commander makes. He will always keep the mission first, and will not over-identify with his men. He will not let the loss of his men affect him.

Or, will he?

This black & white story is exceptional and superbly acted. It shows the mental tug-of-war a leader must make in the decisions that will cost the lives of men he has come to admire and respect. It depicts how the ugliness of war brings out the best in ourselves, and creates fraternal bonds that last a lifetime.
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221 of 246 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still unsurpassed July 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Those who think that "Saving Private Ryan" was a great movie ought to watch this old black and white classic. In virtually every aspect except photography and sound "Twelve O'Clock High" is superior. The script by Sy Bartlett in particular is vastly superior.

Spielberg's film focused on some of the command problems faced by Capt. John Miller (Tom Hanks) in fulfilling his combat mission, but the treatment and development were almost high schoolish (if I may) compared to the enthralling delineation in "Twelve O'Clock High." The problems encountered by Gregory Peck as the bomber group commander were complex, subtle and psychologically demanding, while the resolution was filled with the kind of male social and political dynamics not much explored at the movies these days. (We have female dynamics aplenty.)

Director Henry King's clean, crisp, "invisible" direction was also superior to the uneven and far too showy pandering from Spielberg. Furthermore the acting, with Gary Merrill and Hugh Marlowe supporting Peck, was also better. Ted Danson in his cameo and Matt Damon at times in "Saving Private Ryan" were almost laughable.

Comparing the two movies makes one wonder how much movies really have improved. Technically they have in every respect, but too often today's film-makers think they can get by with special effects and splashy sets. Pour a lot of blood, show a lot of skin, get people at each other's throat, and it will play, seems to be the attitude. What is often forgotten are the two most important aspects of film, namely, story and character development. In this respect I don't think today's films have improved on the great classics of the past.

--Dennis Littrell, author of "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!"
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Leadership
This movie offer a lesson about leadership. The two commanders shows different leadership's styles but only one is better to that times.
Published 17 hours ago by Lauro d'Avila
5.0 out of 5 stars Brought back memories!
This was required viewing at the USAF Squadron Officer's School. What to do (and not to do) as a unit commander. Filmed nearby at Duke Field near Fort Walton Beach
Published 26 days ago by Sharon
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC!
Classic war film loosley based on facts but the acting and plot line is terrific. One of the "All time greats".
Published 26 days ago by T. Wilcoxson
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great WWII movies
Gregory Peck gives a commanding performance. So much so that he was nominated for an Academy Award. Makes you aware just how close we came to not winning the air war over Germany... Read more
Published 27 days ago by Anthony Peale
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie on Command
One of the best war movies made. The story and the actors did an excellent job portraying the psychological difficulties associated with combat and the immense stress that our... Read more
Published 1 month ago by David
1.0 out of 5 stars Damaged DVD
This is one of my all time favorite movies. I ordered this copy along with a group of 10 other WWII movies. They were very good quality except for this one. Read more
Published 1 month ago by David D. Whisenhunt
3.0 out of 5 stars Playback Problems in my Blu-ray Player
When I try to play this DVD in my Samsung BD-F5900 Blu-ray player it hangs up at about 1:00:30 (but not at exactly the same place each time; it varies 10-20 seconds). Read more
Published 1 month ago by Roy I. Wagner
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it 20 years ago and still do.
Gregory Peck fan, plus an excellent movie. No action, just the gut wrenching responsibility of human lives following ones orders. A very deep movie.
Published 1 month ago by Barbara Booth
5.0 out of 5 stars classic guy flick
We purchased this to replace an old VHA tape, because my husband loves this movie. Luckily for me, I like Gregory Peck! It's a good WWII story.
Published 1 month ago by Roberta
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT Classic Movie
This is one of those movies that you can watch and watch and watch and never get tired of. This is a good classic movie and its worth getting for anyone who collects or likes... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Richard Desiderato
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Topic From this Discussion
The Removal of original ending, and re-installation of it
That's a load of you-know-what. Anyone familiar with the novel by Beirne Lay and Sy Bartlett is aware the film's ending, as penned by Bartlett and shot by King is extremely faithful to the novel. Killing off everyone would have made no sense nor would authors Lay and Bartlett acquiesed to such... Read more
Jun 13, 2007 by Mark J. Hale |  See all 11 posts
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