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 »
In the 1943 invasion of Italy, one American platoon lands, digs in, then makes its way inland to blow up a bridge next to a fortified farmhouse, as tension and casualties mount. Unusually ... See full summary »
An aircraft carrier is sent on a decoy mission around the Pacific, with orders to avoid combat, thus lulling Japanese alertness before the battle of Midway. All the men have their ... See full summary »
In Greece during the war a small group of British commandoes and patriots land on an island with orders to attack two airfields from which the Luftwaffe is threatening allied forces in ... See full summary »
Grim story of one of the major battles of the Korean War. While negotiators are at work in Panmunjom trying to bring the conflict to a negotiated end, Lt. Joe Clemons is ordered to launch ... See full summary »
American correspondent Bill Roberts is a thorn in the side of the Nazis, as his paper always scoops the world with the truth about Germany. Gestapo Captain Carl Von Rau means to plug the ... See full summary »
Perry Ashwell is a self-satisfied child psychologist who takes his colleagues and wife somewhat for granted. So confident is he of his position that he introduces rich attractive painter ... 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 'Hollywood Reporter' reported on 29 September 1943 that actor Richard Loo had tested for the part of Tojo but in the final film he actually ended up playing General Ito Mitsubi. 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 »
Captain Harvey Ross:
No your excellency. It's true we Americans don't know very much about you Japanese. And we never did. And now I realize you know even less about us. You can kill us. All of us, or part of us. But if you think that's going to put the fear of god into the United States of America, and stop them from sending other flyers to bomb you, you're wrong. Dead wrong. They'll come by night, they'll come by day. Thousands of them. They'll blacken your skies and burn your cities to the ground and make you ...
See more »
It's hard to see this as much more than an effective piece of flag-waving propaganda. A handfull of American fliers are brought to trial in Shanghai after being captured and having participated in Doolittle's raid on Japan. The outcome of the trial is predetermined. The whole thing is revealed as a farce from the beginning, like the trial of the sherrif and his deputies in Mississippi back in the 1960s. Potentially objective journalists are excluded from the courtroom. The judge is clearly bent on hanging the defendants. Their court-appointed counsel does nothing. One by one the defendants are tortured, yet they never confess their guilt in bombing hospitals and spraying children's playgrounds with lead, which in fact they didn't do anyway in real life. When the surrender of the American and Philippino forces at Corregidor is announced, the Japanese military observers jump up screaming and do a demonic dance featuring flashing swords, all improvised. For about one minute the courtroom resembles a lunatic asylum before the discovery of phenothiazines.
Towards the end they are offered a normal prisoner of war status by Richard Loo, the army officer who has been arguing that they flew off a carrier, if only they will admit that they did, in fact, fly off a carrier. That way he won't be proved wrong. Led by the thin-lipped, grimly determined Captain Dana Andrews they agree to plop their aviator's wings into a vase in a secret ballot. If even one pair of wings is broken they will accept Loo's offer. Is there finally a pair of broken wings in the vase? Well -- consider the context.
Here's a movie from the mid-war years. The Doolittle raid was real. It had no significance except as a morale booster, but it DID boos morale. All of the airplanes were lost, because the fleet carrying the B-25s was seen by a Japanese trawler (sunk as soon as possible) which was presumed to have radioed its contact back to its homeland. If, in fact, the trawler HAD alerted Japan, there was no evidence of it. When the bombers crossed the coast, one Japanese observer reported seeing "curious brown planes." So the target was caught unaware.
It was an act of war. Nevertheless, some of the captured crews were executed, a violation of the Geneva Accords, which the Japanese had never signed anyway. (Read Ted Lawson's long out-of-print book, "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," for a good first-hand account.)
It has its moments of humor. Their defense council announces that he is a graduate of Princeton. Sam Levene introduces himself as "Greenbaum, City College of New York." This is a kind of joke because at the time, and afterward, CCNY was thought to be a hotbed of radicalism. There are also moments of sentimentality but they're mawkish and by the numbers.
There is an attempt to reflect the contemporary world situation. The Russians are ambivalent. The Germans are enthusiastic trial attendees. The Argentinians are puzzled and wax wroth. (The Argentine government was later to prove more accomodating.) The Swiss Red Cross does its best but is helpless. The Chinese are divided, some of them duplicitous, although I doubt that any young man could bring himself in China to murder his own father.
It's a serious movie. Not, like "Gung Ho," a simple exercise in demonstrating our superiority over the enemy. "Gung Ho" is funny. "The Purple Heart" isn't. It will probably make some viewers uncomfortable because it may prompt them to think of things like rigged trials, manufactured evidence, the assumption of guilt, and judicial corruption. On the other hand, of course, we must also take into account the timbre of the times. It's all to easy for us, sitting back in our sybaritic recliners and sipping Starbuck's, to look back at what tribulations an entire generation was going through in 1943 and judging them on our own terms. Of course, nothing is easier, and more wrong. Let's cut the movie makers a bit of slack. These were contentious times.
18 of 27 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?