Thirty Seconds Over TokyoThirty Seconds Over Tokyo (Sous-titres franais) [Import]
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Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (DVD)
There is no more ringing title among World War II movies than Thirty Seconds over Tokyo, and the mission it celebrates was unquestionably historic: a 400-mile bombing raid to carry the war to Japan itself mere months after that nation's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Yet the film is less memorable than many WWII pictures with less exalted factual basis. At the time, critic James Agee eloquently defined both its virtues and limitations as "a big-studio, big-scale film, free of artistic pretension ... transformed by its not very imaginative but very dogged sincerity into something forceful, simple, and thoroughly sympathetic in spite of all its big-studio, big-scale habits." That remains true today, but perhaps the movie--and its unimpeachably noble, admirably life-sized characters--wouldn't seem so stuck in the amber of a bygone era if Mervyn LeRoy and company had pumped a little "artistic pretension" into it.
Spencer Tracy--as James H. Doolittle, architect of the raid--rates the most towering screen credit, and he's superb. But his role's an extended cameo; the emotional core of the film is B-25 pilot Ted Lawson (Van Johnson) and his wife, Ellen (the glowing Phyllis Thaxter). Lawson's bestselling memoir (with Bob Considine) of his training for the secret mission, his group's launching from the aircraft carrier Hornet, and his crash landing and protracted ordeal in China--where he lost a leg--has been faithfully served. The film is long on homely detail and all-American decency (including a remarkably outspoken regret over the unavoidability of civilian casualties) but achieves its greatest impact in the raid itself. That sequence, in addition to boasting Oscar-winning special effects, is mostly shot in riveting silence. --Richard T. Jameson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
What a great movie.
Each year the Doolittle survivors meet at a different part of the United States in the spring for a reunion. There's less than twenty still alive. Their reunion weekend is open to the public with fees going to charitable events. GO. If you think their heroism is exaggerated over the decades, keep this is mind: A bomber had NEVER taken off from a carrier; for all they knew, every single plane was going to crash into the ocean. And every single crew knew that they were taking off too far away from Japan and that they would NOT reach the Chinese airbases. No one backed out.
Amazing story. Great movie.
Lawson himself was an advisor to the film. This helped even more with the historical aspect. Van Johnson was an excellent choice to play Lawson. His performance throughout the film made it a pleasure to watch. Phyllis Thaxter does a wonderful job as Ellen Lawson. Top billing for this film went to Spencer Tracy as Jimmy Doolittle, but his role is really an extended cameo; Lawson and his crew are the real stars of the movie.
Perhaps the best part of the movie was the actual take-off from the Hornet, the bombing of Tokyo, and the crash landing in China. unable to parachute from their plane, the crew of Lawson's B-25 were forced to crash land. Lawson was thrown through the cockpit glass upon landing and suffered many broken teeth as well as a severely damaged leg which would later have to be amputated. Fortunately, the crew was aided by many Chinese who risked their lives to keep the flyers safe and eventually they are returned to safe ground. Lawson is concerned about how his wife will feel about him after his leg had been removed, but the ending tells it all. I highly recommend this excellent film. World War II movie fans will surely enjoy this one.
Most recent customer reviews
Very well researched, great acting and enlightening about an event that changed WWII. A classic to keep the memory of these heroes alivePublished on Nov. 7 2013 by PabloC
This is a real intriguing back story to the1942 Doolittle Raid on Japan. It even feels like the real thing. Read morePublished on Aug. 12 2011 by B. Chandler
The Doolittle Raid was an historic event, not propaganda, as suggested in another review.
The raid carried out in 1942 conveyed two messages: one to the Japanese people, that... Read more
Sorry, but I'm going to vent a little. Why is a movie as great as this not in DVD? It makes me wonder how it is that idiotic drivel like "American Idol", "The Real World" and "I... Read morePublished on Feb. 16 2003
Probably one of the best propaganda movies of World War II. Produced in 1944 to increase morale, America's first bombing mission over the Japanese main islands was designated a... Read morePublished on Oct. 2 2002 by Jeff Henderson
This movie is a refreshing respite from such current over-hyped and unrealistic war movies as Pearl Harbor. Read morePublished on July 18 2002 by magellan
On April 18 1942, sixteen B-25 Mitchell bombers roared off the deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S Hornet. Read morePublished on July 18 2002
After watching the disastrous, multi-million-dollar hokum in 'Pearl Harbor' this weekend, I got therapy by going straight home to re-play this wonderful 1944 classic from Mervyn... Read morePublished on July 15 2002 by Great Movie Addict
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