The Van Johnson Blogathon – Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

This is the final of three posts dedicated to the Second Annual Van Johnson Blogathon being held over at Love Letters to Old Hollywood.

Tnx Michaela for letting me take part!

“When I was a kid, I used to dream about going someplace on a ship. Well, here I am!” – Bob Gray

Number of Times Seen – 2 (1 Jul 2001 and 22 Aug 2018)

Brief Synopsis – Following the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the US air Force plans a daring mission to try and bomb Tokyo.

My Take on it – This is a film that I recall seeing not long after seeing Pearl Harbor (2001) in order to see another interpretation of the Doolittle raid on Tokyo in ’42.

This film does a great job showing us the actions that those brave men took in order to try and wage to the first counter offensive against the Japanese foe after the attack on Pearl harbor.

This film is able to give us a great depiction of the emotional impact on these pilots as they prepare to go to war.

The added impact of showing the camaraderie of the men in various parts of the armed forces works really well as they all begin to realize the importance of working together in defeating a common foe.

The cast in this film is great and both van Johnson and Robert Mitchum are perfectly given the roles of tough and cocky pilots who are among the volunteers on this mission.

Spencer Tracy is also great in the supporting role of the leader of the mission Lt. Col James Doolittle.

I really liked the way that this film shows numerous sides of this story including the military and home-front aspects of such a dangerous mission that was so unique for the time.

Bottom Line – Great depiction of American’s first counter attack following Pearl harbor. They do a great job showing the emotional impact on these pilots and the early camaraderie of the men of the various parts of the armed forces as they begin to realize that they need to work together to defeat this new foe. The cast is great with both Van Johnson and Robert Mitchum doing great jobs in the leads.  Tracy is also superb as always in the supporting role of Doolittle.  The film comes across as very realistic and this film does a great job showing both the military and home-front aspects of the early days of the war. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Twice while the Ruptured Duck is flying over Japan the crew spots Japanese fighter planes and tenses for an attack, but both times the fighters ignore them. This is factual. In an unbelievable coincidence, the Japanese had planned a major air raid drill for the same time in Tokyo, and the fighters thought the American B-25s were part of the drill until the bombs started exploding. Also, according to the book upon which the movie is based the planes’ crews were told prior to the mission that there was a slight chance that the Japanese would not recognize them and react because the Japanese air force had a bomber very similar to the B-25. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)


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3 thoughts on “The Van Johnson Blogathon – Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

  1. I remember seeing about 10 minutes of this film once and I’ve always been meaning to watch the whole thing. Your great review has convinced me that next time this appears on TCM, I’ll have to record it.

    Thanks for writing three wonderful posts for my blogathon!


  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1944 | MovieRob

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