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

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William R. Laidlaw (screenplay) and
George Froeschel (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Command Decision on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
February 1949 (USA) See more »
Heroes, cowards, fighters, braggarts, liars...and what goes on in their hearts!
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:
2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Hard decisions in the present save countless lives in the future See more (29 total) »


  (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:
112 min
Black and White (archive footage) | Black and White
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
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?

Senior officers attending the U.S. Air Force's Command College watched this film as a training aid.See more »
Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Casey is wondering about the weather for the third straight day of maximum effort, he tells his staff to keep him informed with weather updates. But when he does so, his lips don't move.See more »
James Carwood:What's the answer, Brockie, all guts and no brain?
Elmer Brockhurst:No. That's putting it too simply. Dennis is one of those boys whose brain is fascinated by guts. He loves this lousy war.
See more »
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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Hard decisions in the present save countless lives in the future, 29 May 2005
Author: sol from Brooklyn NY USA

(There May Be Spoilers) Launching "Operation Stich" a week ahead of time, due to the favorable weather conditions over Germany, Brig. Gen. K.C Dennis', Clark Gable, B-17 Bombers suffer the loss of 48 aircraft on the first day's mission.

Going some 600 miles into Germany, without fighter escort, in a triangular bombardment of the key German industrial cities of Posenleben Schweinhafen and Fendelhorst. Gen. Dennis is determined to take them out Before the weather worsens and doesn't care how many planes and crews it costs him to do it.

The next days bombing of Schweinhafen cost another 24 B-17's. Due to German ingenuity in camouflaging the factories there the USAAF bombed the wrong city making it necessary to go on a bomb run the next day on the real Schweinhafen. By now the USAAF crews are at the point of refusing to go on their missions over Germany feeling that Gen.Dennis is out of his mind by sending then to certain death.

Gen. Dennis' superior and friend Maj. Gen. Kane, Walter Pigeon, is very upset with his actions and is about to relive him of his duties as combat-wing commander. Since Gen. Dennis launched his assault on Germany he lost some 70 bombers in two days compared to the loss of under 20 bombers lost by the RAF during the same period.

In a private meeting with Gen. Kane and other USAAF top personnel Gen. Dennis makes his case for the actions that he's taken even if it coast him his command of the B-17 combat-wing. The Germans are developing this revolutionary jet-fighter, the Lantze-Wolf. The Nazi Super-Plane is so superior to anything that the allies have that if it's manufactured in mass and put in the air the German Luftwaffe would drive the USAAF and RAF from the skies of Europe. It would make it impossible for a cross channel invasion of Europe the next year, 1944, and cost the allies the war.

Unable to open a second front in Western Europe and with the Luftwaffe having total air supremacy will force the allies, the USA UK and USSR, to agree to an armistice and peace treaty with the Germans on Hitler's terms. The bombing of those cities deep in Germany by Gen. Dennis' bombers will destroy the Germans ability to mass-produce the Lantez-Wolf. Thus save in the future countless American and Allied soldiers lives at the cost of the heavy, but necessary, losses in B-17 and their crews now.

This causes Gen. Kane to look the other way, knowing how right Gen. Dennis is, by allowing him to send his bombers out the next day and finally knock out the German industrial city of Schweinhafen. The bombing raid cost the life of Gen. Dennis best friend Col. Martin,John Hodiak. It's also in Schweinhafen where the jet-fighter is being assembled and in the end because of the heavy losses in that bombing raid Gen. Kane is forced, reluctantly, to relive Gen. Dennis of his command. US politicians like Congressman Arthur Malcolm, Edward Arnold, afraid of how the people back home feel about the staggering losses in the skies over Germany and Gen. Dennis' actions being responsible for them it's only a matter of time for him to be dismissed as a USAAF combat-wing commander.

The general took his dismissal with the same courage as his men took the murderous anti-aircraft fire and attacks of German fighters on the missions that he sent them on. Being replaced by his friend and fellow classmate at West Point Let. Gen. Clifton Garnet,Brian Donlevy.

Gen. Garnet also goes against the top brass, the next day, in ordering the bombing of Fendelhorst in central Germany to take out the last place where the deadly Lantze-Wolf are being made. With that, facing the same fate that Gen. Dennis just went through, ended up winning the war for the allies at the possible cost of his military career.

The truth is that like in the movie "Command Dicision" the Germans did develop a jet-fighter late in the war that if it was mass-produced and sent up against the allied air forces a year earlier would have won the Second World War for Germany. The German Masserschmitt Me-262 jet fighter could reach speeds of 540 to 580 MPH that was some 100 to 150 MPH faster then the swiftest USAAF and RAF fighters. In combat it scored as much as 700 combat kills over allied planes during 1944-1945. In their last major air to air engagement over Berlin in March 1945 some dozen Me-262's downed 25 B-17 and 5 fighter escorts to the loss of only two of their own.

Under 300 of the Me-262 jets put into combat and with, for the most part, them being flown by unexperienced pilots and with a shortage of jet fuel to keep the planes airborne for any long period of time. It turned out that the decision of USAAF generals like K.C Dennis to bomb the factories where the Me-262 were being made, despite the heavy allied air losses, that in the end won the war for the Allies in Europe.

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