This movie is a black and white movie set in World War 2. At first glance, the story line seems commonly Hollywood. Gen. Savage inherits a bomber squadron that has fallen upon a streak of bad luck. The bombers are falling victim to the enemy and they are not hitting their target. Gen. Savage comes in, whips the pilots and crews into shape, end of story.
While the plot is nothing special, the movie is absolutely brilliant. Despite the movie being set in the military, character of Gen. Savage is universal and timeless.
Gen. Savage replaces a friend of his as the commanding officer of the 918th Bomber Group. What makes this movie so different than other war movies is that the movie focuses on the chess game Gen. Savage has to play to get the bomber group to operate effectively with no casualties. At first glance, there is no easy answer as to why the bomber group is not doing well. The movie revolves around Gen. Savage picking the organization apart to find the problems. As Gen. Savage implements changes to fix the issues, he is met with heavy resistance from his own men. A majority of the movie is dedicated to how Gen. Savage implements the changes in the bomber group.
This movie is about strategy. It is not about the strategy of war, but rather the strategy and the problems encountered when trying to implement organizational change. While the move would not be as exciting, the role of Gen. Savage could as easily been a CEO or any person who overseas people.
I highly recommend this movie to anyone that has to supervise people. It is great to see a war movie that focuses on the "behind the scenes" issues rather than the death and violence of the battlefield.