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Film Review - Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Here's a very interesting film. Not that it is the best film of all time, but Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is a interesting look at World War II propaganda.
Based on the book by Major Ted W. Lawson, the film is a recollection of Jimmy Doolittle's raid on Tokyo just a few months after Pearl Harbor. The raid was more a moral victory rather than a stab in the heart.
What is of real interest is how the characters are painted. All Americans are painted as patriotic. No one is a malcontent. Wives are portrayed in a supportive light. Even if their husband looses a leg, they are there supportive without even flinching. The film gets very sappy when Lawson and his wife talk.
Even the dialog where pilots are talking about their feelings about Japanese is almost politically correct. They don't hate the Japanese, but they figure it's either the Japanese or them. Later when the soldiers are being taken care of by Chinese, they say lines such as, "These are our kind of people." Sure they are, they're giving you medical care and keeping you from your enemies.
The film has some historical value of course. But this film was made during the war, and it had more value in boosting morale. To the soldier it said, the people back home support you. To the people back home, it said, your men are brave and doing great deeds for you. And for wives, it was a guide on how to think.
This film is a great time machine. Not that is shows an accurate view of how people were during the war, but how Washington and Hollywood wanted people to feel during the conflict. If you're interested in film history, this is worth checking out.
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Released in 1944
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Reviewed by Mongo