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Twelve O'Clock High (1949)

Not Rated | | Drama , War | 1950 (UK)
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A hard-as-nails general takes over a bomber unit suffering from low morale and whips them into fighting shape.

Director:

Henry King

Writers:

Sy Bartlett (screenplay), Beirne Lay Jr. (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gregory Peck ... General Savage
Hugh Marlowe ... Lt. Col. Ben Gately
Gary Merrill ... Col. Davenport
Millard Mitchell ... General Pritchard
Dean Jagger ... Major Stovall
Robert Arthur ... Sgt. McIllhenny
Paul Stewart ... Maj. 'Doc' Kaiser
John Kellogg ... Major Cobb
Robert Patten ... Lt. Bishop (as Bob Patten)
Lee MacGregor Lee MacGregor ... Lt. Zimmerman (as Lee Mac Gregor)
Sam Edwards ... Birdwell
Roger Anderson Roger Anderson ... Interrogation Officer
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Storyline

In this story of the early days of daylight bombing raids over Nazi Germany, General Frank Savage must take command of a "hard luck" bomber group. Much of the story deals with his struggle to whip his group into a disciplined fighting unit in spite of heavy losses, and withering attacks by German fighters over their targets. Actual combat footage is used in this tense war drama. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A story of twelve men as their women never knew them...

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1950 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Almas en la hoguera See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally planned to be shot in color, the decision was made to shoot in black and white instead to accommodate the use of stock footage. See more »

Goofs

Savage is given command of the 918th and tells Pritchard that he'll get there "early" the next day. By the time he does arrive, Lt. Zimmerman has committed suicide, been given a funeral and Major Stovall has had time to get drunk afterwards. See more »

Quotes

General Savage: No, Sir. I didn't hear a thing. It must have been radio malfunction.
General Pritchard: Do you mean you're going to stick to that fairy tale?
General Savage: Yes, sir. There's one more thing you might as well know, sir. The 918th got through today, and bombed the target when nobody else did. And if Providence ever drops into my lap, another chance like that to give this group the pride it out to have in itself, I may have radio malfunction again, sir.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: LONDON 1949 See more »

Connections

Followed by 12 O'Clock High (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

The Whiffenpoof Song
(uncredited)
Written by Tod B. Galloway, Meade Minnigerode, George S. Pomeroy and Rudy Vallee
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A fine memorial to the men of the 8th Air Force.
9 December 2004 | by smiley-39See all my reviews

Of all the movies to come out of Hollywood covering world war two, I place this one, which I first saw in 1950, in the top-draw category. From the very start when the credits start rolling, the opening music seemed to fit perfectly; instead of the era-splitting noise they have hit us with in recent years. The old wartime, "Bless 'em All" and, "Don't sit under the apple tree", heard in the background, as Dean Jagger, now a civilian, slowly takes a nostalgic walk out onto the weed-covered, oil-stained runway to remember gallant times of the 918th Bomb Group, now past.

Gregory Peck as Brigadier General Frank Savage did great credit to this role, and deserved an Oscar. From the moment he enters the base and tears into the guard at the gate for casually waving him through, you know he's going to be a S.O.B. Dean Jagger as Major Stovall, the lawyer in uniform now Ground Executive Officer knows how to handle the paperwork after the first sobering face to face encounter with with Savage. That Jagger won the Oscar as best supporting actor, was well deserved indeed. Gary Merrill as Colonel Keith Davenport, the too popular Group CO, very good. Hugh Marlowe as Lt Colonel Ben Gately, who flew too many missions from behind a desk, placed on the rack by Savage with the other bomb group deadbeats and foul ups, handles his role well. Then their's Millard Mitchell as Major General Pritchard, displaying a commanding presence, and Paul Stewart as Doc Kaiser, also well portrayed.

There are no false heroics in this movie. No blood and guts all over the silver screen. And no routine world war two, hard boiled, go-get-'em dialogue to spoil it. The authors, Sy Bartlett and Beirne Lay. wrote an excellent screenplay. They did the film a favour, they deleted General Savage's love interest that appeared in their fine novel. I don't think it would have added anything to the movie at all. Maybe what surprised a lot of moviegoers who had not read the book before seeing the movie, was Savage's mental breakdown; freezing suddenly at the hatch as he attempted to heave himself aboard the B-17. It was so unexpected of him after showing such ice-cold nerves

What rounded out this impressive movie was the insertion of the air combat footage shot over Europe during the actual daylight operations. This documentary footage crowned a very fine achievement. One of Henry King's best; a professional effort indeed. The thread of sincerity in this war movie runs deep.

The reason I found the movie so engrossing was, as a teenager, on the sidelines of the war, I saw more than one B-17 stagger home and belly in on a wing and a prayer. This movie was loaded with integrity from the beginning to the end credits. I'm sure the gallant gentlemen who flew with the Eighth Air Force over enemy-occupied Europe would be of the same opinion. It is a kind of monument to those warriors.


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