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Twelve O'clock High [Blu-ray]

4.7 out of 5 stars 507 customer reviews

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(May 03, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

In this story of the early days of daylight bombing raids over Germany, General Frank Savage must take command of a "hard luck" bomber group. Much of the story deals with his struggle to whip his group into a diciplined fighting unit in spite of heavy losses, and withering attacks by German fighters over thier targets. Actual combat footage is used in this tense war drama. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill
  • Directors: Henry King
  • Writers: Sy Bartlett
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (Mono), Spanish (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 3, 2011
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (507 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004RE29RC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,190 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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Format: DVD
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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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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