Over Tokyo, B-25 Mitchell Bombers WW2


Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Jimmy Doolittle and his

B-25 Mitchell bombers make the first attack against Japan

WW2 Movie

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Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson, Robert Mitchum in the jimmy doolittle raid in WW2

0792841077Here to Buy ---  Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Staring:  Johnson,  Walker, with Spencer Tracy

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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 0009112
0009112ALT="B-25 Mitchell Bomber airplane models used by Jimmy Doolittle in the Tokyo Raid against Japan" HSPACE=10 VSPACE=10 BORDER=2 height=375 width=250 align=RIGHT>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 Jimmy 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 0009907
0009907ALT="Doolittle Tokyo Raid Set" HSPACE=10 VSPACE=10 BORDER=2 height=156 width=250 align=RIGHT>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 the Tape edition. 


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