This is the story of the crew of a downed bomber, captured after a run over Tokyo, early in the war. Relates the hardships the men endure while in captivity, and their final humiliation: ... See full summary »
This is the story of the crew of a downed bomber, captured after a run over Tokyo, early in the war. Relates the hardships the men endure while in captivity, and their final humiliation: being tried and convicted as war criminals. Written by
Buxx Banner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The trial, as depicted in the film, was held at Police Headquarters in Shanghai, China on 14 October 1942. The eight men were condemned to death. Hallmark, Farrow, and Spatz were executed by a firing squad of the Imperial Japanese Army at sunset the next day. The remainder were given an Imperial commutation to life in prison. In 1943, Meder died of mistreatment and various diseases. The remaining four survived until they were freed upon Japan's surrender in August, 1945. See more »
There should be a solid red circle inside the white star on the insignia on the fuselage of the B-25 "Mrs. Murphy". The insignia shown was not adopted until June, 1942, two months after the Doolittle Raid. See more »
General Ito Mitsubi:
We will win this war because we are willing to sacrifice ten million lives. How many lives is the white man willing to sacrifice?
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Worth seeing for WWII and film history fans, this occasionally sappy film buys into the Hollywood anti-Japanese jingo-ism of the war while throwing in a few interesting curve balls.
The story hangs on a show-trial of a captured American bomber crew for the charge of murder for killing civilians during the bombing of Tokyo in 1942. Anticipating the Nuremburg trials, the plot is a daring concept for a time (1943) when the U.S. still had no clear idea how the war would end!
While the main characters adhere to the standard PR depiction of the Japanese as evil, cruel and hate-filled, there are interesting exceptions in the margins, particularly a kameo by Key Luke as a sailor who survives a shipwreck. He has to provide testimony that will either embarrass the army General prosecuting the case or his own Navy superiors. Tangential to be sure, but even this much sympathy for the Yellow Devil is almost unique for the period.
It also goes to great pains to show that not all orientals are evil, with an extended subplot involving a Chinese soldier who dies a hero's death.
Certainly, all the characters are highly emblematic - the Chinese soldier and his collaborationist father represent the divided China of the war, the foreign diplomats for whose benefit the show-trial is being conducted are all straight from central casting (note the conflicted Russian, not yet at war with Japan, who is driven finally to reject his own government!), and the crew are the typical rah-rah war movie accumulation of types and accents. But there are several extremely intelligent debates on war and responsibility to duty scattered through the film, along with a grudging admiration for the Japanese people as strong-willed and able to suffer deprivation for the sake of their ideals.
Ultimately, the movie is carried mostly by the charm of the American crew, who manage to get through the most appallingly sentimental parts of the film with their dignity intact.
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