Thirty Seconds Over TokyoThirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Original film poster Directed by Mervyn LeRoyProduced by Sam ZimbalistWritten by Dalton Trumbo
Ted W. Lawson
Robert ConsidineStarring Van Johnson
Stephen McNallyMusic by Herbert StothartCinematography Robert Surtees
Harold RossonEditing by Frank SullivanDistributed by Metro-Goldwyn-MayerRelease date(s) 15 November1944Running time 138 min Country USALanguage EnglishIMDb profile
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is a 1944 MGM war film. It was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Sam Zimbalist. The screenplay by Dalton Trumbo was based on a 1943 book by Ted W. Lawson. In both book and film Lawson gives an eye-witness account of the training, mission and aftermath that he and his crew experienced as part of the Doolittle Raid in April 1942. Lawson shared his first-hand experience as the pilot of the "The Ruptured Duck", the seventh of 16 B-25s to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet.
The film stars Van Johnson as Lawson, Phyllis Thaxter as Ellen Lawson, Robert Walker as Sgt. David Thatcher, Robert Mitchum as Lt. Bob Gray and Spencer Tracy as Col. Jimmy Doolittle, the man who planned and led the raid.
The film is also noted for its attention to historical details of the raid as well as its use of actual movie footage of the bombers in flying scenes.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 4 Reception
- 5 Awards
- 6 Popular culture
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The film begins in February 1942 as the American Army Air Corps plans to retaliate for the Pearl Harbor attack by bombing Tokyo. Colonel "Jimmy" Doolittle (Spencer Tracy), the leader of the mission, assembles an elite group of aviators who begin to prepare by learning to fly B-25 Mitchell medium bombers from the deck of an aircraft carrier.
One of the lead pilots is Lt. Ted Lawson (Van Johnson), whose story frames the action of the training, launch from the carrier USS Hornet, and harrowing attack on Tokyo. Through a series of mishaps, the 16 bombers are forced to take off too early and after the attack, have to abort to China where some of the crews are captured by the Japanese. Lawson and his crew face tremendous odds before being rescued.The B-25s about to launch from the USS Hornet The Ruptured Duck flies over a burning Tokyo in Thirty Seconds over Tokyo.
As appearing in screen credits (main roles identified):Actor Role Van JohnsonLt. Ted W. LawsonRobert WalkerCpl. David Thatcher Tim Murdock Lt. Dean Davenport Scott McKay Capt. Davey Jones Herbert Gunn (as Gordon McDonald) Bob Clever Don DeForeLt. Charles McClure Robert MitchumLt. Bob Gray John R. Reilly Lt. Jacob "Shorty" Manch Stephen McNally Lt. Thomas "Doc" White (as Horace McNally) Spencer TracyGen. James DoolittlePhyllis ThaxterEllen Lawson Donald Curtis Lt. Randall Louis Jean Heydt Navy Lt. Henry Miller William "Bill" Phillips (as William Phillips) Lt. Don Smith Douglas Cowan Lt. Everett "Brick" Holstrom
A full cast and production crew list is on the IMDb profile.
A measure of realism was maintained by working closely with Captain Ted Lawson and other members of the raid. The use of Eglin Field near Pensacola, Florida, the real base where the Doolittle Raiders trained along with using operational USAAF B-25C and -D bombers which closely resembled the B-25B Mitchells used in 1942 made for a very authentic, near-documentary feel. Although an aircraft carrier was not available due to wartime needs, a mix of studio sets and the original newsreel footage recreated the USS Hornet scenes faithfully. Principal photography took place between February and June 1944.
Although recognized as an inspirational patriotic film bordering on propaganda, the New York Times critic Bosley Crowther in November 1944 summed up the universal verdict on the production, "our first sensational raid on Japan in April 1942 is told with magnificent integrity and dramatic eloquence..." The film is now considered a "classic aviation and war film."
Critical acclaim followed the film and many reviewers considered it the finest aviation film of the period. The actual Raiders considered it a worthy tribute.
In the 1945 Academy Awards, the Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo team of A. Arnold Gillespie, Donald Jahraus and Warren Newcombe (photography) and Douglas Shearer (sound) won the Oscar for Best Special Effects. Robert Surtees and Harold Rosson were also nominated in the category of Black and White Cinematography.
Actor Van Johnson did a 1970s commercial for Post Fortified Oat Flakes breakfast cereal on a set reminiscent of B-25s on an aircraft carrier flight deck, concluding with the line that the cereal would "take me to Tokyo – and back!" Jefferson Airplane's second live album Thirty Seconds Over Winterland (1973) is a humorous take on this title. Experimental rock band Pere Ubu's 1975 debut single is named after the film.
See alsoWikimedia Commons has media related to: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
- The Ruptured Duck (B-25)
- Ted W. Lawson
- The Purple Heart (1945), a fictional account of the fate of a group of American airmen, presumably from the Doolittle raid
- Pearl Harbor (2001), which includes the raid.
- ^ Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo Full credits
- ^ Orriss 1984, p. 93.
- ^ Orriss 1984, p. 100.
- ^ Harwick and Schnepf 1989, p. 13–14, 61–62.
- ^ Orriss 1984, p. 93–94.
- ^ Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo Awards
- Dolan Edward F. Jr. Hollywood Goes to War. London: Bison Books, 1985. ISBN 0-86124-229-7.
- Harwick, Jack and Schnepf, Ed. "A Viewer's Guide to Aviation Movies". The Making of the Great Aviation Films, General Aviation Series, Volume 2, 1989.
- Oriss, Bruce. When Hollywood Ruled the Skies: The Aviation Film Classics of World War II. Hawthorne, California: Aero Associates Inc., 1984. ISBN 0-9613088-0-X.
External linksv • d • eFilms Directed by Mervyn LeRoyLittle Caesar(1931) • Five Star Final(1931) • Tonight or Never(1931) • Two Seconds(1932) • Three on a Match(1932) • I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang(1932) • Gold Diggers of 1933(1933) • Tugboat Annie(1933) • The World Changes(1933) • Anthony Adverse(1936) • Waterloo Bridge(1940) • Escape(1940) • Blossoms in the Dust(1941) • Random Harvest(1942) • Madame Curie(1943) • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) • The House I Live In(1945) • Without Reservations(1946) • Little Women(1949) • Quo Vadis(1951) • Million Dollar Mermaid(1952) • Mister Roberts(1955) • The Bad Seed(1956) • Toward the Unknown(1956) • No Time for Sergeants(1958) • The FBI Story(1959) • A Majority of One(1961) • Gypsy(1962)
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