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Desperate Journey (1942)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 26 September 1942 (USA)
When the crew of a downed British bomber escape from their Nazi captors with Top Secret intelligence, they make a desperate journey to get out of Germany alive.

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(original screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Directors: David Butler, Robert Florey, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith, S.Z. Sakall
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Flight Lt. Terrence Forbes
... Flying Officer Johnny Hammond
... Kaethe Brahms
... Major Otto Baumeister
... Flight Sergeant Kirk Edwards
... Flying Officer Jed Forrest
... Flight Sergeant Lloyd Hollis
... Dr. Mather (as Albert Basserman)
... Preuss
Patrick O'Moore ... Squadron Leader Lane-Ferris
Felix Basch ... Hermann Brahms
... Frau Brahms (as Ilka Gruning)
... Frau Raeder (as Else Basserman)
Charles Irwin ... Captain Coswick
... Squadron Leader Clark
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Storyline

When Flight Lt Forbes and his crew are shot down after bombing their target, they discover valuable information, about a hidden German aircraft factory, that must get back to England. In their way across Germany, they try and cause as much damage as possible. Then with the chasing Germans about to pounce, they come up with an ingenious plan to escape. Written by mike.wilson6@btinternet.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

escape | factory | bombing | nazi | uniform | See All (70) »

Taglines:

Man alive, just picture this excitement! See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

26 September 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fugitivos del infierno  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Over the fresh grave of Flight Officer Lloyd Hollis (Ronald Sinclair); Flight Lt. Terrence Forbes (Erroll Flynn) recites a line of poetry "If some corner of a foreign field...that is forever England." The poem it refers to is "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915):

If I should die, think only this of me; That there's some corner of a foreign field That is for ever England. There shall be In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, 5 Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam, A body of England's breathing English air, Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away, A pulse in the eternal mind, no less Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given; Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day; And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness, In hearts at peace, under an English heaven. See more »

Goofs

German troopers throughout the movie are wearing the clunky WW1 era M-16 helmet, which had become obsolete in the German Army long before WW2 came around, having been replaced by a much sleeker and lighter model. See more »

Quotes

Maj. Otto Baumeister: We have decent instincts, but we have also an iron fist!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Raoul Walsh and Errol Flynn (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltzing Matilda
(1895) (uncredited)
Original music by Christina Macpherson (1895)
(Based on the Scottish tune "Craigielee", music by James Barr, with words by Robert Tannahill)
Revised music by Marie Cowan (1903)
Lyrics by A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson (1895)
Partially sung a cappella by Errol Flynn
See more »

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User Reviews

Lighthearted war action on the Warners lot.
10 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

Flynn's last line in the movie sums up the tenor of the entire piece, "Now for Australia and a crack at those Japs." A bomber crew on a heroic mission is shot down and make their way from Poland, through Germany and Holland, to England, losing a few of their members enroute, but nothing compared to the slaughter and destruction the wisecracking warriors wreak on the Germans.

Let's see. Dispensing with the crew members who die early on, there is a British flight sergeant whose role is to be the plucky but inexperienced youngster who is wounded and holds the others back, although he urges them to leave him behind and save themselves. Then there is Alan Hale as the comic old cook, more or less transposed from the USS Copperfin in "Destination Tokyo." Then there is Arthur Kennedy as the serious Canadian accountant who objects to the playful way the others make war on the Nazis. He mistakenly thinks war is a serious business, but he comes around in the end. There is Errol Flynn, the only officer, and an Australian, who organizes one adventure after another and speaks German. (Somebody has to speak German.) Ronald Reagan is the American from Jersey City. He is Flynn's sidekick.

The Germans aren't so well differentiated but they're just as stereotyped. Raymond Massy is the monocled Herr Major who pursues them for personal reasons across half of Europe. Sig Rumann provides the best comic interlude. As a railroad policeman he discovers our gang making themselves at home in Gorings private car. He sarcastically tells them in German that he's happy to see that they've made themselves at home in the Reichsmarshall's quarters and asks them if there is anything he can do for them -- "Do you think the cigarettes are good enough for you?" Alan Hale completely mistakes Rumann's sarcasm and comes back with a jolly, "Oh, ja, ja," until Rumann spits on Hale's outstretched hand and throws them all off the train.

Boy, this movie is packed with action. Badabing, badaboom! Trains, planes, and automobiles -- one chase after another. Flynn setting his cap firmly on his head before diving through a window. Most of the movie was shot on Warner's lot, but there is some nice location shooting too at what I take to be the flats around South San Francisco Bay. Prop up a few fake windmills on the horizon and you have Holland. (You can see the same flats substituting for the Japanese coast in "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," or nearby ones on the Sacramento River posing as a ships' graveyard in "Blood Alley.")

The story isn't really worth going into. It isn't quite as focused as some other war movies in that there is no single mission to which the group must devote themselves. Instead they improvise a lot. But you can hardly notice it because the pace is so fast. Good old Raoul Walsh. Flynn got along a lot better with Walsh than he did with Michael Curtiz. Both were demanding directors but Walsh was more nearly human, stipulating only that Flynn's drinking wouldn't begin until five in the afternoon.

And Max Steiner, the composer, should get a medal. How can he possibly have ground out so many scores for so many different movies in so short a time? Did he ever sleep? He doesn't give this one a memorable theme as he did with "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," but still there's hardly a moment that the orchestra is not banging away behind the action. One thing you do when you're pressed for time is to incorporate traditional tunes into the score, substituting them for original music. I was able to catch snatches of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" (or, I guess, "God Save the King," in this context), "Du, Du, Liegst mir Im Herzen," "Deutschland Uber Alles" (or the hymn it comes from), "British Grenadiers," "Rule Brittania," and "Ich Hatt Einen Kameraden."

No comments on acting are required. If you're in the mood for being diverted, "Desperate Journey" ought to get the job done. It's unpretentious propagandistic fun.


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