7.4/10
1,733
34 user 16 critic

Command Decision (1948)

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.

Director:

Sam Wood

Writers:

William R. Laidlaw (screenplay), George Froeschel (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure (1945)
Drama | Romance | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Dark, romantic, complicated drama about a rowdy merchant mariner and sophisticated librarian who clash over their lifestyles and values - and then fall in love.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Clark Gable, Greer Garson, Joan Blondell
Adventure | Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Opportunistic con man Dan Kehoe ingratiates himself with the cantankerous mother of four outlaws and their beautiful widows in order to find their hidden gold.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Clark Gable, Eleanor Parker, Jean Willes
China Seas (1935)
Certificate: Passed Action | Drama | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When earthy Dolly Portland is rejected by Captain Gaskell in favor of a socialite, she aids Jamesy McCardle, in league with Malay pirates, in his plot to seize his ship.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Wallace Beery
Saratoga (1937)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After winning a stud farm in lieu of gambling debts, bookie Duke Bradley turns an eye to the daughter of the now deceased gambler and her millionaire fiancée.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A newly wealthy English woman returns to Malaya to build a well for the villagers who helped her during war. Thinking back, she recalls the Australian man who made a great sacrifice to aid her and her fellow prisoners of war.

Director: Jack Lee
Stars: Virginia McKenna, Peter Finch, Kenji Takaki
Boom Town (1940)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two buddies who rise from fly-by-night wildcatters to oil tycoons over a twenty year period both love the same woman.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert
Splendor (1935)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The once-great Lorrimore family faces bankruptcy unless older son Brighton marries wealthy Edith Gilbert. When Brighton instead returns from a trip with his new wife Phyllis, she receives a... See full summary »

Director: Elliott Nugent
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, Joel McCrea, Paul Cavanagh
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A wealthy but neurotic Southern belle finds herself trapped in the hideout of a gang of vicious bootleggers. The gang's leader lusts after her, and is determined not to let anything stand in the way of his having her.

Director: Stephen Roberts
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, William Gargan, Jack La Rue
Barbary Coast (1935)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Mary Rutledge arrives from the east, finds her fiance dead, and goes to work at the roulette wheel of Louis Charnalis' Bella Donna, a rowdy gambling house in San Francisco in the 1850s. She... See full summary »

Directors: Howard Hawks, William Wyler
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, Edward G. Robinson, Joel McCrea
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A divorcée leaves New York to visit her grandfather's farm and recover in the Midwest, where she unexpectedly falls in love with a married farmer.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Miriam Hopkins, Franchot Tone
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In the South Pacific islands, two brothers, one good and one bad, fight over the same girl and over a bag of pearls.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Robert Taylor, Stewart Granger, Ann Blyth
Convicted (1950)
Certificate: Passed Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A D.A. becomes the prison warden where he tries to help an inmate he prosecuted, because he believes his sentence was excessive.

Director: Henry Levin
Stars: Glenn Ford, Broderick Crawford, Millard Mitchell
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clark Gable ... Brigadier General K.C. 'Casey' Dennis
Walter Pidgeon ... Major General Roland Goodlow Kane
Van Johnson ... Technical Sergeant Immanuel T. Evans
Brian Donlevy ... Brigadier General Clifton I. Garnet
Charles Bickford ... Elmer Brockhurst
John Hodiak ... Colonel Edward Rayton Martin
Edward Arnold ... Congressman Arthur Malcolm
Marshall Thompson ... Captain George Washington Bellpepper Lee
Richard Quine ... Major George Rockton
Cameron Mitchell ... Lieutenant Ansel Goldberg
Clinton Sundberg ... Major Homer V. Prescott
Ray Collins ... Major Desmond Lansing
Warner Anderson ... Colonel Earnest Haley
John McIntire ... Major Belding Davis
Moroni Olsen ... Congressman Stone
Edit

Storyline

General Dennis of the US Force in England in World War II finds that he must order his planes deeper and deeper into Germany to prevent the production of military jet planes that will turn the tide of battle to the Germans. He must fight congressmen, and his own chain of command to win the political battle before he can send his planes out. His problem is complicated by a very narrow window of good weather necessary to allow his effort to be successful. Adapted from a stage play, it attempts to look at the challenges of command in the political arena. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

M-G-M's Dramatic Hit! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

February 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sublime decisión See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$2,467,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,901,000, 31 December 1948

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,685,000, 31 December 1948
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In April 1948 MGM announced that Tom Drake would be cast in this movie playing the part of Capt. Tom Jenks. Drake in the end did not appear in this film. A May 1948 MGM press release reported that Michael Steele would be cast to play the role of the pilot Capt. Lucius Malcolm Jenks and Steele does appear in this film in this part. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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 »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The political process of a military decision
3 April 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

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.


17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 34 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed