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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 (356 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill, Millard Mitchell, Dean Jagger
  • Directors: Henry King
  • Writers: Henry King, Beirne Lay Jr., Sy Bartlett
  • Producers: Darryl F. Zanuck
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Full Screen, 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 21, 2002
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (356 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005PJ8V
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,042 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Twelve O'Clock High" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

This gritty World War II action drama staring Gregory Peck, Oscar winner Dean Jagger, Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill and Millard Mitchell is seen as one of the most realistic portrayals of the heroics and perils of war. Convinced an air force commander (Gary

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
169 of 175 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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89 of 94 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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224 of 249 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very Good
Published 17 hours ago by REACT Unit-1
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of my favorite wars movies, and I've seen most of them. If...
A Monument to Courage
Published 6 days ago by heavy-duty reader
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Vendor - Lousy Quality DVD
Terrible quality video, but vendor was extremely easy to work with in returning it. Great vendor - lousy quality video.
Published 9 days ago by Wingnut
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie about leadership
Great movie about leadership, and making difficult decisions in difficult times. Acting is good, and it was back I the time of everybody smoking
Published 10 days ago by Rob Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A fine classic movie added to my collection.
Published 15 days ago by Billy D. Merrifield
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Classic movie with good acting.
Published 26 days ago by Lyle Bain
5.0 out of 5 stars They simply could not make a movie like this today
They simply could not make a movie like this today. Since it was filmed in 1949 you might say the " muscle memory " of the characters was truly authentic for the war years. Read more
Published 26 days ago by topche
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best war movie's ever made. Finally a clear version of this classic.
Published 1 month ago by jerome marino
5.0 out of 5 stars What could be better ?
As I expected...G R E A T !
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Stupid ending
This was a great leadership movie... until the final ten minutes. What? That's how it ends?

I would read the book to find out if Hollywood got it all wrong, but I... Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. Heiss
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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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