πŸŽ₯ Twelve O’Clock High – 1949

The Story …

In 1949, former United States Army Air Forces officer Harvey Stovall spots a familiar Toby Jug in the window of a London antique shop and learns that it came from Archbury, an airfield where Stovall served during World War II.

Convinced that it is the same jug which used to stand on the mantel of the airfield’s officers’ club, he buys it and journeys to the derelict airfield, where he reflects on his wartime experiences.Β In a flashback, the setting shifts to 1942, when the 918th Bomb Group at Archbury has gained a reputation as the “hard luck group”.

After a particularly disastrous mission, group commander Colonel Keith Davenport appears exhausted and demoralized …

His defeatist attitude spreads to other senior leaders of the group, including his Air Exec, Lieutenant Colonel Ben Gately. Ordered to fly another mission the next day, at a dangerously low altitude, Davenport protests to his friend, Brigadier General Frank Savage, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations at VIII Bomber Command.

Later, Savage reluctantly shares with Major General Pritchard, the commanding general of VIII Bomber Command, his belief that Davenport has become emotionally too close to his men and may no longer be fit to command.

That night, Pritchard and Savage visit the group headquarters to investigate the cause of the mission’s heavy losses.

Pritchard realizes that Savage is right: Davenport has become over-protective and is unwilling to discipline his men, even for costly mistakes. Davenport is relieved of command and Savage is asked to take over.

Savage takes a harsh approach to restoring the group’s discipline and morale. He begins by reprimanding Gately, demoting him to aircraft commander and insisting that he henceforth fly every mission. Savage assigns Gately only the most incompetent crewmen, ordering him to paint the name “Leper Colony” on his airplane.

Rough-and-ready Major Cobb impresses Savage with his independent spirit and replaces Gately as Air Exec. Savage conducts a series of training missions and waits for an opportunity to restore the group’s pride in its abilities.

Upset by the contrast of Savage’s stern leadership with Davenport’s easygoing ways, all of the group’s pilots apply for transfers. Savage asks the Group Adjutant, Major Stovall, to delay processing their applications to buy him some time. An attorney in civilian life, Stovall knows how to use bureaucratic red tape to his advantage.

When the group returns to combat, all the groups are ordered to abort their mission due to heavy weather. Savage ignores the recall order. The 918th successfully bombs the target and is the only group to do so. All of its crews return safely.

Though Pritchard is furious, Savage claims that he did not hear the recall due to a radio malfunction and instead persuades Pritchard to recommend the group for a Distinguished Unit Citation.

Savage also acquires a surrogate son in Lieutenant Jesse Bishop, a Medal of Honor recipient who is Savage’s eyes and ears among the combat aircrews. When the Inspector General arrives to investigate the pilots’ transfer requests, Savage packs his belongings, expecting to be relieved of command and possibly court-martialed. But, led by Bishop, the pilots withdraw their requests.

Savage also softens his attitude towards the men as he becomes more closely involved with them. Gately goes on to win Savage’s respect and admiration by demonstrating extraordinary leadership and courage in combat.

With enemy resistance intensifying as the air war advances deeper into Germany, missions become longer and riskier and many of Savage’s best men are shot down or killed.

Pritchard tries to get Savage to return to a staff job at VIII Bomber Command, but Savage feels that the 918th is not yet ready to do without him. Reluctantly, Pritchard leaves him in command. Ordered to return to the same target after a particularly brutal raid on a ball bearing factory, Savage finds himself physically unable to haul himself up into his B-17.

Gately takes his place as lead pilot and strike commander for the mission. While waiting for the group’s return, Savage becomes catatonic.

Only as they return to Archbury does he regain his composure and fall asleep. The story then returns to 1949, as Stovall pedals away from Archbury.

The story unfolds …

Credits :

  • Gregory Peck as General Frank Savage
  • Hugh Marlowe as Lt. Col. Ben Gately
  • Gary Merrill as Col. Keith Davenport
  • Millard Mitchell as General Pritchard
  • Dean Jagger as Major Stovall
  • Robert Arthur as Sgt. McIllhenny
  • Paul Stewart as Capt. “Doc” Kaiser
  • John Kellogg as Major Cobb
  • Robert Patten as Lt. Bishop (credited as Bob Patten)
  • Lee MacGregor as Lt. Zimmerman
  • Sam Edwards as Birdwell
  • Roger Anderson as Interrogation Officer
  • Kenneth Tobey as Guard Post Sergeant.

Cast :

  • Gregory Peck as General Frank Savage
  • Hugh Marlowe as Lt. Col. Ben Gately
  • Gary Merrill as Col. Keith Davenport
  • Millard Mitchell as General Pritchard
  • Dean Jagger as Major Stovall
  • Robert Arthur as Sgt. McIllhenny
  • Paul Stewart as Capt. “Doc” Kaiser
  • John Kellogg as Major Cobb
  • Robert Patten as Lt. Bishop (credited as Bob Patten)
  • Lee MacGregor as Lt. Zimmerman
  • Sam Edwards as Birdwell
  • Roger Anderson as Interrogation Officer
  • Kenneth Tobey as Guard Post Sergeant.

Film Information :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_O’Clock_High

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ALL RIGHTS TO THIS MOVIE REMAIN WITH THE OWNERS

GENRE : #WAR-MOVIES

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