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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

Although ostensibly set in England, most of the film was actually shot in the USA. This would explain why the general is driven around in cars that are clearly left hand drive instead of right hand drive as they are in the UK. See more »

Goofs

Stock combat footage of air-to-air combat is used extensively. Some clips have been flipped left to right and reused. Others, particularly of German fighters blowing up, were not filmed from bombers but were taken from the gun cameras of Allied fighters, which did not accompany the bombers at this time. (Some shots taken from non-bombers are from cameras on German fighters, on footage captured after the war.) See more »

Quotes

General Savage: [to a crewman who disobeyed orders] So for the sake of your roommate you violated group integrity. Every gun on a B-17 is designed to give the group maximum defensive firepower - that's what I mean by group integrity. When you pull a B-17 out of a formation you reduce the defensive power of the group by ten guns. A crippled aeroplane has to be expendable. The one thing which is never expendable is your obligation to this group. This group... this group - that has to be your loyalty; your only ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: LONDON 1949 See more »

Connections

Referenced in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Army Air Corps
(aka "army Air Force" and "Wild Blue Yonder") (uncredited)
Words and music by Robert Crawford (as Robert MacArthur Crawford)
Whistled by Robert Arthur
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the Near-Great Films of All-Time; Immensely Moving, Powerful
24 June 2005 | by silverscreen888See all my reviews

This stirring war film about the Eight Air Force and their war against the German Luftwaffe was written by Sy Bartlett and Beirne Lay, Jr. . It starred Gregory Peck as the Colonel, Frank Savage, head of the 918th Bomber Group assigned to making winged warfare succeed where his nice-guy predecessor, ably played as always by Gary Merrill, had failed. He is aided by brilliant Dean Jagger as Harvey Stovall his exec, his honest Boss Millard Mitchell, and others; but his chief opponent turns out to be the men themselves, not the Nazis...he has to completely turn their thinking around, make them write off survival and think only in terms of getting the job done--so they will have the best chance to maintain group integrity in the air. bomb their targets, and get home safely afterward. How he does this, by stalling their requests for transfer and winning them over to his way--the American way--of making war produces a powerful story. Others in the large, but uneven cast include capable Hugh Marlowe, John Kellogg, Bob Patten, Lawrence Dobkin, Joyce Mackenzie and many others credited and not. This epic was directed by veteran Henry King in what most believe is masterful fashion in B/W. Music was supplied by Alfred Newman and cinematography was done by Leon Shamroy. Art directors Maurice Ransford and Lyle Wheeler deserve every praise for the style they infused into the entire production, mixing actual war footage with their new scenes. Sets such as the large hut where missions are outlined, HQ House, the general's office, the bar, the now-overgrown airfield, the hospital and the airplane interior shots are all memorable achievements. The climax of the film is compromised a bit by changing the original storyline; instead of merely being unable to fly and watching his men get the job done without him, in the filmed version Savage has a near-breakdown from which he rouses only when his pilots begin arriving home. But there is so much power in this film and in its message that self-assertion is better than sloppiness, cowardice, inattention, non-cooperation, defeatism, et al, the film justifiably is still a well-beloved. Frequently, it provides an unforgettable look at how U.S.'s officers and men had to grow up as military operatives in the throes of WWII. To see the men in the film have to watch their Toby mug being turned around, signaling the beginning of another call to mission is moving; the film's opening, when having found the mug again in a shop, tourist Jagger takes it with him, climbs a fence into a field and finds the already-disappearing remains of the hardtracks down which B-17s had so recently roared, carrying the fight to the enemy and men to their deaths or heroisms or both--is frankly a classic sequence; it is also the scene which leads to the film being told as a flashback recounting the events of Savage's vital assignment. Highly recommended.


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