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Frederick De Cordova
The story of Colonel Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, the bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Although unaware of the full potential of this new weapon, he knows that it is capable of doing tremendously more damage than any other weapon used before, and that the death toll resulting from it will be enormous. He is reluctant to be the person who will end so many lives, but if using it may bring an end to the war, then not doing so may result in even more lives being lost in continued ground assaults as the fighting goes on. At the same time, the intense secrecy surrounding this mission leaves him with no one he can express his thoughts and doubts to, not even his wife. As time goes on, the pressure upon him only increase. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The B-29 representing Tibbet's plane, shown landing on Tinian, has a tail designation of "T - Square - 5". In actuality, this was "Joltin' Josie, The Pacific Pioneer." It was the very first B-29 to land on the new runways on Saipan. The film of it landing may very well be the original film of the actual plane arriving at Saipan on 12 October 1944. The "T" on the tail is for the 498th Bomb Group, the "square" means the 73rd Bomb Wing, and plane number 5 was part of the 873rd Bomb Squadron. This aircraft, piloted by Capt. Wilson C. Currier, crashed on takeoff from Saipan on 1 April 1945 with the loss of the entire crew according to the book, "Rain of Fire, B-29s over Japan, 1945" by Charles L. Phillips (USAF Ret.). See more »
When we see the bomb drop out of the bomb bay it is not the "Little Boy" atomic bomb. It appears to be footage from a drop of Britain's Tallboy bomb which was long and bullet shaped with some animation added such as the nose protrusion of the detonation device. In actuality Little Boy was blunt nosed like a loaf of bread and the detonation device was inside the bomb not a protrusion on the front of the bomb. See more »
Sensitive portrayal of a serious subject, the dropping of the first atomic bomb.
This film tells the story of the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Pilot Tibbets is played by Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker portrays his wife. The rest of the cast includes a bunch familiar faces, but the performances are standard. Taylor does a particularly good job as the officer tormented by the morality of his task and the disintegration of his marriage.
This film has some good moments. One of them is uncharacteristically humorous. The colonel comes home one afternoon to hear sounds from the kitchen. His wife tells him that she has found someone to fix the plumbing. "Who?", enquires Taylor. "One of the sanitary engineers", she says, referring to the men in white coats she pointed out to her husband upon their arrival. The plumber turns out to be one of the scientists with the Manhattan Project. "He is very nice," she says, "but he's very smart."
Another powerful moment is when the "Enola Gay" drops the bomb on Hiroshima. There is one word of dialogue in this scene. Taylor looks at the mushroom cloud and says "God." The enormity of this moment does not need words, and the film delivers.
The film makes a sincere effort to deal with the morality of the bomb. In one scene the general questions Tibbets' feelings about his mission. If I wasn't concerned about what I'm about to do he says I wouldn't be much of a man. After dropping the bomb, he angrily responds to a reporter's question about how he feels about killing 80,000 people by saying "How do your reader's feel?" When his wife hears what he has done she retreats to her room in silence, ignoring the eager reporters.
I found the scene in which Tibbets is selected for his mission to be problematic. It is hard to buy in to the premise that an officer would be rewarded for insubordination by a top-secret assignment.
This film was a bit too long, but it is well worth watching. It may not be fun to watch the story of the atom bomb, but it is a story that deserved to be told. The movie does a credible job with it and should be recognized for that.
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