28 February 2006 | sol-kay
Taking off in the early morning hours of August 6, 1945 on the giant B-29 air base in Tinian in the Mariana Islands the super-fortress "Enola Gay" is on a secret mission to end the Second World War, and end it with a bang.
Within sight of it's target the two escort bombers along the "Enola Gay" peal off from formation and head home as it flies over the Japanese port city of Hiroshima. At exactly 8:15 AM the Enola Gay drops a uranium based Atomic Bomb that explodes with an blinding air-burst, some 1,600 feet above ground zero, wiping out the city and 100,000 of it's inhabitants in less then a minute. With another Atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki three days later the war in the Pacific as well as WWII ended with the Japanese government surrendering unconditionally to the allies.
The movie "Above and Beyond" reconstructs the development of the Atomic Bomb as well as the means to deliver it, the B-29 bomber. It goes back to 1943 in North Africa where Let.Col. Paul Tibbets, Robert Taylor, is secretly chosen by the top military brass in the Pentagon to be the man to fly the B-29 that's to drop the bomb.
Tibbets a maverick in his dislike of his superiors in sending him and his fellow pilots out on suicide missions against the Germans in Tunisia is just the man that their looking for to perfect the flying of the new giant B-29 bomber. The super-fortress is considered to be a death trap at the time by USAAF pilots but was the only plane capable of carrying a 9,700 pound Atomic device that if dropped and successfully detonated ,on either Germany or Japan, could very well end the war
Back in the states at Wendover AFB in Utah Tibbets is told by his friend and commander of the base Maj. Gen. Vernon C. Brent, Larry Keating, what his mission is to be and to keep it secret not only from his fellow airmen but also his wife Lucey, Eleanor Parker. This causes so much tension between the two that it almost wrecks their marriage. The sweet and lovable Tibbets quickly becomes an unfeeling robot to his wife and two young children overnight. Worst of all is that Tibbets has to keep his feelings, about being the one to drop the bomb, to himself which almost leads him to have a breakdown.
The movie goes on with the Atomic Bomb being perfected at the Los Alamos Manhattan Project army base in New Mexico and with the secret but successful testing of the bomb in the New Mexican desert outside of Alamogordo a town with a name eerily similar to Valley of Armageddon in the Bible, where the last great war is to be fought between Good and Evil, on July 16, 1945. After the successful Atomic Bomb testing Tibbets and his B-29 crew are then flow to the Tinian island B-29 air base to write the final chapter of the Second World War.
Tense filled and extremely accurate movie about the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, were actually shown what the Atomic Bomb looks like and told how it works in the film. Robert Taylor gives one of his best performances as Lt.Col, and later full Col, Paul Tibbets as we see him overcome his fear and what seems guilt in piloting the B-29 super-fortress "Enola Gay",named after his mom Enola Gay Tibbets. Flying some 2,000 miles and six hours to drop a bomb that would eventually kill more people then almost any of the 1,000 plane raids, with the possible exception of the allied 1945 Valentine Day fire bombing of the German city of Dresden, on Japan or Germany during WWII changed Co. Tibbits life forever.
Eleanor Parker as Let.Col Tibbets' pretty and long suffering wife Lucey is extremely effective in her concern for her husband who seemed to have turned into an unfeeling zombie since he was assigned to the secret Wendover AFB. Lucy later realizes, after the announcement of the dropping of the A Bomb and Tibbets being the pilot of the B-29 that dropped it,why her husband acted that way to her and his friends. Tibbets had to keep all that about his secret mission over Japan inside him which ate him up alive.
"Above and Beyond" is unusually even-handed in it's depicting of the devastating Atomic Bombings of Japan. The films unflinching anti-war and anti-nuke message, for as movie made at the hight of the Cold and Korean War back in 1952, seen now has all the impact and effect on it's audience as it did back then.
P.S it should be noted that the ultra-secret 509th Atomic Bomb Group, the only Atomic Bomb unit of any air force on earth at the time, that Col. Tibbets Atomic Bomb fitted B-29 "Enola Gay" was part of made the news again two years later. The very same 509th was involved in the July 1947 "Roswell Incident" where there was a supposedly government cover up of an alien controlled spaceship that crashed in that same desert where the testing of the first Atomic Bomb took place place in the summer of 1945!