Twelve O'clock High [Blu-ray]
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It would be a disservice to those who have not as yet seen this film to say any more about the plot.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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!"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an oldie but an amazing movie regardless of age. They use a mixture of on set and archival war footage for this film and do a fantastic job of seamlessly mixing them... Read morePublished 16 days ago by TheNoviceBushcrafter
Nice action and relayed what the men of the American Air Force in Europe went through. This is one of the movies will watch over and over.Published 2 months ago by Virginia Ed
Classic. Got introduced to it in a leadership training class.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The 918th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Eighth Air Force is known as the hard-luck group. Gen. Frank Savage (Gregory Peck) does not believe in luck and chalks it down to attitude... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bernie
Good old fashioned war movie. Fun to watch while sipping an old fashioned!Published 4 months ago by J. S.
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