Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

Passed   |    |  Drama, History, War


Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) Poster

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, a young lieutenant leaves his expectant wife to volunteer for a secret bombing mission which will take the war to the Japanese homeland.


7.3/10
5,304

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25 August 1999 | Yayo-3
10
| One of the best WWII films made and it's true.
I think this film is one of the best WWII films (if not the best) made during the war. The principal reason is that it's true and based on the famous Doolittle Raid on Japan on April 18, 1942. The movie follows the lives of a few of the members of that raid and focuses specifically on the experiences of Lt. Ted Lawson, who wrote the book. While a few of the stateside scenes are a bit corny and mushy, it nicely weaves in the story of one flyer and his wife and the way they handle their impending separation due to the upcoming mission. One needs to remember the need to portray and establish patriotism and an "apple pie and mom" sense during a difficult wartime environment when the film was released in 1944. In fact, just as the Doolittle Raid was carried out to bolster flagging US morale after Pearl Harbor (Dec 7, 1941)and a series of US and allied losses in the Pacific war in early 1942, this movie of the raid again plays the role of morale booster for the home front in 1944. The flying scenes, as well as the special effects, are pretty good for the 1940's movie making era and perfect for most WWII aviation buffs. This Hollywood movie version of the book of the same name written by Lt. Ted Lawson and edited by Robert Considine is fairly true to the book, with very minor changes for story continuity and some levity. Spencer Tracy does a good job as Lt. Col. Jimmie Doolittle and adds the needed seriousness to the early part of the film. Van Johnson's role of Lt. Ted Lawson was perfectly played and Phyllis Thaxter as his wife is charming. The story of the early part of their marriage adds the right tone to this movie and sort of personifies all of these types of marriages and relationships that were "put on hold" because of a war. The movie turns quite serious, of course, once the raid begins. The underlying story is quite serious and relates the story of a group of flyers who volunteered for an extremely dangerous mission without even knowing what the mission is. I think this is one of the main attractions of this movie for me...that someone is willing to sacrifice their life for their country when asked to possibly do just that. It is selfish acts like this that we in the US should continue to recognize and to be eternally grateful to those of the WWII generation such as those who took part in this famous and unique event in US aviation history.

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