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General Dennis of the US Force in England in World War II finds that he must order his planes deeper and deeper into Germany to prevent the production of military jet planes that will turn the tide of battle to the Germans. He must fight congressmen, and his own chain of command to win the political battle before he can send his planes out. His problem is complicated by a very narrow window of good weather necessary to allow his effort to be successful. Adapted from a stage play, it attempts to look at the challenges of command in the political arena. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Senior officers attending the U.S. Air Force's Command College watched this film as a training aid. See more »
After the plane General Dennis tried to talk in to a landing crashes, the next scene is an inside shot with the generals discussing allowing staff photographers into a debrief. On the brick wall in the background, the shadow of a boom mic is clearly seen moving in and out of scene for the entire duration. See more »
"Command Decision" is based on a stage play, so scenes of aerial combat are not to be found in the movie. This is a major difference between it and "Twelve O'clock High," released a year later in 1949, and which presented a more engaging, gritty, realistic motion picture of aerial combat and the toll it takes on the airmen and their support teams and commanders on the ground.
"Command Decision" tells a story of WWII air warfare from the point of view generals, politicians and the press, and the process of making a military decision in light of political consequences and public opinion. Clark Gable gives a great performance as General Casey, the officer who acts out of military necessity in choosing his targets, and in doing so, knows he puts the lives of his men and his friends on the line. Walter Pidgeon is General Kane, Gable's superior, who has lost some of his ability to look at his duty in purely military terms. Instead he perceives his mission is to fight the politicos and the press and to get the best spin on the actions of his command and commanders. Brian Donleavy is General Garnet, a relative newcomer to all of this. He is eager for his first command, but once on the scene at a combat headquarters, he begins to have doubts of his own about the mission, the politics and his own ability to send young men to their deaths.
The command decision in this fine, taut film is not one climatic decision, but is the story of a number of command decisions made by the three general officers, and how each effects and feeds off of the other men's command decisions throughout the film.
Good performances by all, a little melodramatic at times, but overall, one of the best war movies (especially about air warfare) you'll come across.
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