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


Overview

User Rating:
7.3/10   1,451 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:
Not Really a War Movie See more (30 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:
Twelve O'Clock High (1949) was delayed in its release because this film beat it to the punch. The similarity in content between the two films forced 20th Century-Fox to hold back on "Twelve O'Clock High" for a few months.See more »
Goofs:
Boom mic visible: 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 »
Quotes:
[Standing next to a B-17 starting up]
Col. Edward Rayton Martin:Well... see you later.
[Col. Martin runs to get aboard the bomber]
Col. Edward Rayton Martin:Keep your temper with the big wheels!
Brig. Gen. K.C. 'Casey' Dennis:What?
Col. Edward Rayton Martin:I said; keep your temper with the big wheels! I don't want to get back and find you with a Legion of Merit and a ticket home!
See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
Not Really a War Movie, 28 May 2006
Author: aimless-46 from Kentucky

In a larger sense "Command Decision" is not really a war movie but a film about the responsibility of command and leadership. It is one of the few films that effectively explores these topics; and belongs right up there with the original "Flight of the Phoenix" and "The Red Tent". Not having the visual power of those two films (the limited combat/action scenes are almost entirely stock footage), it must focus more narrowly on the human complications arising from the responsibility of command. The contradiction being that while a leader must cease to be human, no one who can do this is fit to be a leader.

Adapted from a stage play, "Command Decision" suffers from a fair amount of "long-windedness". Fortunately the most long-winded character (Major General Kane-played by Walter Pigeon), is well written and has many substantial things to convey. Much like his character in "Forbidden Planet", Pigeon is tasked with inserting historical and philosophical details into the story, and his commanding screen presence makes him ideal for this purpose.

Brigadier General K.C. Dennis (Clark Gable) has the most screen time and most challenging role, as his character is the guy stuck between a rock and a hard place. He is accountable for making the hard decisions that send his men off to die, but has a fragile authority dependent on how much independence his superiors are allowing him at a particular point in time. Gable does fine in this part, probably his best totally "serious" performance. Although the film takes pains to use the German high command to illustrate examples of bad leadership, it is easy to infer that the same mindset applies to the Allies. With many military leaders distorting events to cover their own ass and willing to sacrifice men for their own career advancement and personal ideology.

The premise of the film is the Air Corps discovery that the Germans have developed the first jet combat plane. Based on the real life Messerschmitt Me-262 (shown as a model in the film and in some archival footage), it is called the "Lantze-Wolf" here and considered so effective as a fighter aircraft that full production would allow the Luftwaffe to regain air supremacy over Europe.

The planes are being assembled in three cities deep in Germany. The only hope to delay their full production is "Operation Stitch" (named for its goal of gaining a stitch in time), a plan to attack these sites through dangerous daylight bombing raids. Dangerous because they will be heavily defended and because the bombers will have to go the final hundred miles without fighter escort-since the America fighters do not have the range to reach and return from the target. This type of daylight bombing was called precision bombing because the bomb-site was more effective with better visibility and a lower altitude. The alternative was safer but less accurate saturation bombing at night (insert Dresden here).

General Dennis must decide whether to start the operation, and then when the bombers take substantial punishment he must decide whether to continue in the expectation of additional high losses.

The film takes certain historical liberties as only after a postwar evaluation of the actual ME-262 did anyone really understand its strategic potential (in the hands of well trained pilots) as a fighter aircraft. Until the end Hitler insisted that it be utilized almost exclusively as a bomber. Although able to carry out this alternative role, its bomb load capacity was too little for any significant impact. That the ME-262 is more a footnote to the war than a major element was due more to Hitler's decision than to any allied efforts to limit its production.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

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