The amazingly detailed true story of \"The Doolittle Raid\" based on the novel of the same name. Stunned by Pearl Harbor and a string of defeats, America needed a victory - badly. To that end, Colonel Jimmy Dolittle, a former air racer and stunt pilot, devises a plan for a daring raid on the heart of Japan itself. To do this, he must train army bomber pilots to do something no one ever dreamed possible - launch 16 fully load bombers from an aircraft carrier! Remarkable in its accuracy, this movie even uses film footage from the actual raid.
Van Johnson ... Lt. Ted Lawson
Robert Walker ... Cpl. David Thatcher
Tim Murdock ... Lt. Dean Davenport
Scott McKay ... Capt. Davey Jones
Herbert Gunn ... Bob Clever (as Gordon McDonald)
Don DeFore ... Lt. Charles McClure
Robert Mitchum ... Lt. Bob Gray
John R. Reilly ... Lt. Jacob \'Shorty\' Manch
Stephen McNally ... Lt. Thomas \'Doc\' White (as Horace McNally)
Spencer Tracy ... Gen. James Doolittle
Phyllis Thaxter ... Ellen Lawson
Donald Curtis ... Lt. Randall
Louis Jean Heydt ... Navy Lt. Henry Miller
William \'Bill\' Phillips ... Lt. Don Smith (as William Phillips)
In World War II, several B25 pilots and their crew volunteers for a secret mission, including the recently married Lt. Ted Lawson (Van Johnson), under the command of Gen. James Doolittle (Spencer Tracy). When the mission is disclosed, they are informed that they will bomb military facilities in Japan. After successfully accomplishing the bombing and returning to the base in China, the airplane of Lawson crashes on the Chinese coast, and his men and he are rescued by the Chinese soldiers.
\"Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo\" is a good war movie, but also a clear American propaganda in times of war. There is a shallow and corny romance in the lead story; the pilots and crew are great friends like a brotherhood and their wives and girl-friends are silly and naive; when Lawson loses his leg, Doolittle says that the army can not lose an experienced man like him; all the allied Chinese are cooperative, submissive and friends; there are lots of nationalism, like for example, the Chinese scouts singing the American hymn. Anyway the story entertains, the special effects and the cinematography are excellent and I liked this film.
One of those made-during-the-war war movies that comes with the customary Frank Capra-like homeland security flag-waving and all of that but this is a good flick that stands the test of time.
Oh, it\'s cornball and the soldiers make like scouts at jamboree but there\'s an edge here--perhaps because the outcome of the WWII encounter was still in doubt at the time.
As a movie, though, \"30 Seconds\" has a lot going for it: romance (Van Johnson-Phyllis Thaxter), buddies (Johnson and a young Robert Mitchum), strong Army-Navy relations, strong American-Chinese relations--and plenty of great character parts played by people like Robert Walker, Spencer Tracy and Don DeFore, later to become George Baxter in TV\'s \"Hazel.\"
There\'s nothing dated about the cinematography employed here. When the Ruptured Duck flies over Tokyo, you feel like you\'re right there in the cockpit and the crew\'s low-altitude escape to China is nothing less than harrowing.
It may not be a 20-20 account of the Doolittle mission to ramp up U.S. spirits after Pearl Harbor but it\'s a entertaining film with a lot of heavy hitters along for the ride, people like Dalton Trumbo (screenplay)and director Mervyn LeRoy.
Yes, it\'s one-part propaganda, one part-chin uplifter but there\'s a lot more to it and it makes my all-time top 10 war movie list.
his is a rather enjoyable WW II about the Doolittle-raid on Japan, made during WW II itself, that however is given more credit for than it really deserves.
Just like basically with every \'40\'s movie is the case, the first halve is formulaic and drags on for too long. The second halve is far more powerful, original and gripping, although in this case the movie also starts to drag again toward the ending, when the movie starts to go on for far too long. The movie easily could had been 45 minutes shorter by cutting some from its beginning and let the movie end way earlier, after they crashed down in China. The movie of course also has a love-story in it to add to the drama. It\'s typical and formulaic but lovers of \'40\'s movies shall probably not complain about it.
The build up of the movie just takes too long. It provides the movie with some good and likable characters but however those get hardly featured again in the second halve of the movie. Basically the only truly real successful part of the movie was the raid itself. It had a good build up and was shot well, with the help of some tremendously good looking miniatures. In this part only the tension and action works out well and the movie starts to grab you and becomes emotionally effective. All of the other moments in the movie around that are well made but just nothing original, gripping or dramatically effective. It\'s just too average all. So that\'s also why I can\'t really consider this movie as a truly great genre movie.
The movie is made during WW II, so it obviously has propaganda elements in it. It however isn\'t anything too disturbing but nevertheless it\'s a big laughable because it\'s so obvious. Such as when the air force and marine\'s constantly say how much they respect and admire each other\'s work, or when the Americans start to say how much they admire the Chinese and that they would be honored to fit along their side against the Japanese.
It was WW II, so more than anything big Hollywood names were more than happy to be in a movie for the good cause. The movie features Van Johnson in the main lead and Spencer Tracy as general Doolittle. and Robert Mitchum in small role. Too small because he probably is the best actor of the bunch. But nevertheless, Van Johnson really wasn\'t a bad pick as the main lead of the movie.
A good movie but I guess it\'s more fun and powerful to watch when you\'re an American yourself.
Actual footage of the B-25 Mitchell bombers taking off from the U.S.S. Hornet was used in the film.
Feature film debuts of Tim Murdock, Scott McKay and John R. Reilly.
Scenes of Lt. Col. Dolittle briefing the B-25 crews on the USS Hornet show a hornet\'s nest on a branch in the background on the overhead behind Dolittle\'s left. Because the actual Hornet was sunk in 1942 soon after the raid, this must be subtle tribute to the original ship and its crew.
When Lawson\'s plane arrives in \"Tokyo\" and sees the fire and smoke from the previous bomber, Davy Jones, we are not looking at a special effect. During the making of the film, there was a fuel-oil fire in Oakland, near the filming location. The quick-thinking filmmakers scrambled to fly their camera plane and B-25 through the area, capturing some very real footage for the movie.
Debut of John Dehner.
The scars visible on Van Johnson\'s forehead at the end of the film are not makeup, they\'re real. He was involved in a near-fatal car accident the previous year just after filming A Guy Named Joe (1943). The filmmakers chose to accentuate rather than hide these scars for the post-mission half of the movie, since his character Ted Lawson was quite banged up, too. They\'re particularly evident in the last scene of the movie when he\'s on the floor talking with his wife.
The real Ted Lawson showed-up the day the scenes of Van Johnson\'s character (Ted Lawson) was having his leg amputated. The mood around the set was quiet and tense.