IMDb > Command Decision (1948)
Command Decision
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Command Decision (1948) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.3/10   1,408 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
William R. Laidlaw (screenplay) and
George Froeschel (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Command Decision on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
February 1949 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Heroes, cowards, fighters, braggarts, liars...and what goes on in their hearts!
Plot:
Army generals struggle with the decision to prioritize bombing the German factories producing new jet fighters over the extremely high casualties the mission will cost. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The political process of a military decision See more (29 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Clark Gable ... Brig. Gen. K.C. 'Casey' Dennis

Walter Pidgeon ... Maj. Gen. Roland Goodlow Kane

Van Johnson ... Tech. Sgt. Immanuel T. Evans

Brian Donlevy ... Brig. Gen. Clifton I. Garnet

Charles Bickford ... Elmer Brockhurst
John Hodiak ... Col. Edward Rayton Martin

Edward Arnold ... Congressman Arthur Malcolm

Marshall Thompson ... Capt. George Washington Bellpepper Lee
Richard Quine ... Maj. George Rockton

Cameron Mitchell ... Lt. Ansel Goldberg
Clinton Sundberg ... Maj. Homer V. Prescott

Ray Collins ... Maj. Desmond Lansing
Warner Anderson ... Col. Earnest Haley

John McIntire ... Maj. Belding Davis
Moroni Olsen ... Congressman Stone
John Ridgely ... James Carwood
Michael Steele ... Capt. Lucius Malcolm Jenks
Edward Earle ... Congressman Watson
Mack Williams ... Lt. Col. Virgil Jackson
James Millican ... Maj. Garrett Davenport
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lane Allan ... Officer (uncredited)
Joel Allen ... Lt. Colonel (uncredited)
George Backus ... Cook (uncredited)
Gregg Barton ... Sergeant (uncredited)
Jack Bonigul ... Minor Role (uncredited)
William Cabanne ... Flyer (uncredited)
John Cannon ... Officer (uncredited)
Campbell Copelin ... Correspondent (uncredited)
Bruce Cowling ... Operations Officer (uncredited)
Bob Cunningham ... Officer (uncredited)
James Dale ... Operations Sergeant (uncredited)
Fred Datig Jr. ... Flyer (uncredited)
Bert Davidson ... Correspondent (uncredited)
Dennis Dengate ... Flyer (uncredited)
Tay Dunn ... Major (uncredited)
Sam Flint ... Congressman (uncredited)
Don Garner ... Flyer (uncredited)
Don Haggerty ... Command Officer (uncredited)
Henry Hall ... Congressman (uncredited)

Alvin Hammer ... Machine Shop Sergeant Cahill (uncredited)
Tom Handley ... Correspondent (uncredited)
Clarke Hardwicke ... Flyer (uncredited)
Carey Harrison ... Staff Officer (uncredited)
Holmes Herbert ... Chairman (uncredited)
David Holt ... Lt. Nelson (voice) (uncredited)
James Horne Jr. ... Young Officer (uncredited)
Robin Hughes ... R.A.F. Officer (uncredited)
John James ... Officer (uncredited)
Colin Kenny ... Elevator Passenger (uncredited)
Marten Lamont ... R.A.F. Officer (uncredited)
Billy Lechner ... Operations Sergeant (uncredited)
William F. Leicester ... Parker - the Chauffeur (uncredited)
Peter Martin ... Command Sergeant (uncredited)
Frank Mayo ... Staff Officer (uncredited)
John McGuire ... Fly Control Officer (uncredited)
Bill McIvor ... Jeep Driver (uncredited)
George Melford ... Correspondent (uncredited)
John Michaels ... Flyer (uncredited)
Bob Milton ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Howard M. Mitchell ... Staff Officer (uncredited)
William Murphy ... Flyer (uncredited)
Bill Neff ... Flyer (uncredited)

Barry Nelson ... Cumquat B-Baker Crewman (voice) (uncredited)
David Newell ... Staff Officer (uncredited)
William Nind ... Staff Officer (uncredited)
George Offerman Jr. ... G.I. Waiter (uncredited)
William 'Bill' Phillips ... Jeep Driver (uncredited)
Frank J. Scannell ... Correspondent (uncredited)
Robert Seiter ... Control Officer (uncredited)
Tony Shaw ... Officer in Tower (uncredited)
Robin Short ... Guard (uncredited)
J. Lewis Smith ... Photographer (uncredited)
Buddy Swan ... Flyer (uncredited)
William Tannen ... Officer (uncredited)
Arthur Walsh ... Photographer (uncredited)
Douglas Walton ... Englishman on Loudspeaker (voice) (uncredited)
Harlan Warde ... Control Officer (uncredited)
Steve Wayne ... Command Sergeant (uncredited)
Frank Whitbeck ... Trailer Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Wilson Wood ... Photographer (uncredited)
Jimmy Zahner ... Flyer (uncredited)

Directed by
Sam Wood 
 
Writing credits
William R. Laidlaw (screenplay) and
George Froeschel (screenplay)

William Wister Haines (play)

Produced by
Sidney Franklin .... producer
Gottfried Reinhardt .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
Miklós Rózsa  (as Miklos Rozsa)
 
Cinematography by
Harold Rosson 
 
Film Editing by
Harold F. Kress 
 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Urie McCleary 
 
Set Decoration by
Edwin B. Willis 
 
Makeup Department
Jack Dawn .... makeup designer
 
Production Management
Al Shenberg .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Sid Sidman .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Jack D. Moore .... associate set decorator
Frank Wesselhoff .... painter (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
James Brock .... sound (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
A. Arnold Gillespie .... special effects
Warren Newcombe .... special effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Ed Hubbell .... still photographer (uncredited)
Lloyd Isbell .... grip (uncredited)
Bert Kopperl .... still photographer (uncredited)
Robert Martin .... camera operator (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Eugene Zador .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Kermit Bloomgarden .... stage producer
Leslie H. Martinson .... script supervisor (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
112 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Black and White (archive footage) | Black and White
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Canada:PG (video rating) | Finland:S | Sweden:Btl | UK:U | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (certificate #13274)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The original Broadway production ran for virtually a year - from Oct. 1 1947 through Sept. 18, 1948, a total of 409 performances, and starred Paul Kelly, Jay Fassett, James Whitmore, Paul McGrath, Edmon Ryan, Stephen Elliot, Paul Ford, Arthur Franz, and John Randolph in the roles played respectively by: Clark Gable, Walter Pidgeon, Van Johnson, Brian Donlevy, Charles Bickford, John Hodiak, Edward Arnold, Michael Steele, and Cameron Mitchell.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Van Johnson is in Gable's office alone in the very beginning of the film, someone comes in and gives him a model plane and he places it on a shelf behind him. However, when Gable comes in soon afterwards the shelf is empty.See more »
Quotes:
Congressman Arthur Malcolm:But it seems to me our boys are paying a pretty bloody price for General Dennis' record!
Congressman Stone:Arthur!
Brig. Gen. K.C. 'Casey' Dennis:Arthur, they're paying a price for the country's record.
See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
15 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
The political process of a military decision, 3 April 2006
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

Command Decision was adapted from a Broadway play that ran for 409 performances the previous year. Tony Awards were won by Paul Kelly who played General K.C. Dennis and James Whitmore for Tech Sergeant Emanuel Evans. The play shows the process of making military decisions when you have to factor in the politicians who control the purse strings. It's a necessary evil in a society that values civilian control of the military.

Both during and after World War II there was a debate among the British and American air commanders over the value of daylight versus nighttime bombing attacks. The British did night raids over Germany, responding in kind to what the Luftwaffe had done to them. Fly over at high altitudes and just drop the bombs. It did make for fewer casualties among the RAF pilots of their Lancaster bombers.

The Americans opted for daylight raids at a lower altitude trying to hit certain strategic objectives. In Command Decision it involves three factories that intelligence has learned are manufacturing new jet aircraft. If the Nazis had ever developed the far advanced jets against the Allied propeller aircraft in any number, the course of the war over Europe might have changed. Just like the V-2 rockets were developed too late to help the Axis cause.

Command Decision has Clark Gable leading a distinguished cast as the general who has to make the decision about whether to bomb or not, to go into Germany's heartland without fighter escort. Unfortunately his purely military outlook is not shared by his immediate superior Walter Pidgeon who has to factor in the politicians in Congress who read the dispatches by correspondents like Charles Bickford here about the appalling losses in American life.

In many ways Pidgeon has the most difficult part in the film. He has to take in the voices of objection raised by the visiting Congressional delegation led by Edward Arnold. Pidgeon is a politician, but purely by necessity. We admire Gable's stand on principle, but the audience also respects Pidgeon and sympathizes with him.

On Broadway Command Decision takes place in the headquarters and to make it better for the screen, playwright William Wister Haines wrote an additional scene that Paul Kelly did not do on Broadway. Clark Gable on a radio microphone tries to talk down a bombardier who is piloting a plane where the pilot and co-pilot are wounded and killed. It's a harrowing scene and one of the best Clark Gable ever did. Gable must have drawn from his World War II experience, he was a tailgunner in our Army Air Corps and flew many a B-17 mission over Germany.

Rounding out a distinguished group of MGM contractees are Van Johnson, Brian Donlevy, Marshall Thompson, Cameron Mitchell, Warner Anderson, Ray Collins, John McIntire and John Hodiak. They all cast well as Army Air Force personnel. Johnson plays the part that James Whitmore originated on stage and provides what little humor there is in this film.

The main criticism of Command Decision has always been that it is too stagey. But I found it an absorbing account of the decision making process in a military command.

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