Produced in 1944 and starring Van Johnson as Ted Lawson, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is a story of Doolittle's famous raid made in April 1942.
The story told in this film is also true...Ted Lawson is the pilot of a B-25 bomber. The story begins as he and his men are shipped to Eglin Air base in Florida to train for an extremely secretive mission. Which includes learning how to take off with only 500 feet of runway...
Ted's beloved wife follows him and we discover a blooming, solid relationship between the two. "Tell me honey, why are you so cute?" Ted asks multiple times. "So I could get such a good looking fellow..." Ellen always responds. This interchange is playful, but says much about them. Ellen is a wonderful military wife. She sends her man off with a smile, even while the tears lurk behind her eyelids. I very much appreciated this portrayal of an army wife. I also liked that the romance is between husband and wife. (There is enough kissing to cover the bases.)
After a successful bombing run, things go haywire...the rest of the story covers the men's return to the United States...along the way, they meet with rainstorms:
And some very kind Chinese:
Among the stars in this film are Robert Mitchum and Spencer Tracy as James Doolittle himself.
One gets the sense of actually being in the airplane during the flights...one can almost get motion sickness. Like many war movies of the era, it includes actual footage of the planes taking off, flying, and dropping their ordinance.
There is no language and nothing objectionable--unless you really cannot stand kissing in movies.
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is a fine movie. I give it a 5-star.
The Story of Dr. Wassell is based on a true story. The movie weaves together two threads of Dr. Wassell's life. The one is backstory, shown throughout the film as flashbacks. The second is the heroics of a humble country doctor turned Navy medical officer.
Dr. Wassell is a Navy doctor on the Island of Java when the Japenese land in 1942. The men under his care are sailors from the ships USS Marblehead and USS Houston. When the island is evacuated, only the walking wounded are shipped out. Dr. Wassell refues to leave, so with the remaining stretcher cases, he braves the coming trouble. Each of the wounded men have their own part in the story. Without them, The Story of Dr. Wassell would not exist.
The only material that might be objectional in this film is the Javanese girls clothing (which really isn't bad). There are only two instances of kissing and that isn't overly dramatic. There is no language and the blood and/or violence is very tastefully handled. The element of romance is several cases is probably very much Hollywood, though
for some reason I suspect based on actual fact.
I might not suggest this film for very young children--for starters they wouldn't understand everything going on--though they could certainly get a laugh out of sailor Johnny Leeweather's hijinks. I first saw this movie when I was upwards of 10 (I can't place it exactly) and remember finding certain scenes somewhat disturbing. Even now they are, but more because I understand the gravity of the situation, than out of childish upset.
There is one scene that some might object to where Dr. Wassell addresses a statue of Buddah...almost like he's praying. I am not sure really how that was intended by the either the character or the director, but I found it almost comical while also understanding that prayer to anyone or thing beside God is sinful.
While the story is of serious import, it does have the moments of humor that good directors always seem to manage to slip into their films to lighten a dark moment.
All told, this movie ranks up there among my favorites. I give it a 5-star for engaging story, clean language, acting, and special effects. Made in 1944, the special effects are outstanding. You honestly think you just saw the road explode into black dust when a bomb lands.
The Story of Dr. Wassell is a movie I certainly plan on watching again sometime....
A Reformed Presbyterian girl who enjoys a good movie or a good book any ol' time.
Note: All images picked up online. No copyright infringment intended.