Twelve O'Clock High (1949)

Twelve O'Clock High (1949), directed by Henry King.

War from the management point of view. One of the best, with an unusually spare structure: just the men and the mission, no wives and sweethearts, no "why we fight" lectures, no comically colorful characters. We don't go on a bombing mission until the last segment of the film. Some real aerial combat footage from both sides.

Gen Savage's advice to his men (all volunteer air crews, by the way -- does he need to kick butt quite so hard?): "Stop thinking about home. Consider yourselves already dead." His job is to figure out how much they have to give and get it all. He fires officers for caring too much about the men, but then, ironically, does the same thing himself, flaming out at the end.

I've heard this film is used in management training courses, which seems to me a spectacularly bad idea. I've never known a hard as nails, 100% committed to the cause boss who did any good at all.

The wikipedia article has details on the film and the real people who inspired some of the characters.

The B-17 belly landing at the beginning was the real thing: no models.

Alfred Newman score.

The Blu-ray resolution is a good upgrade over the DVD, but I see a lot of film damage in the first half, like a wavering or fluttering of large sections of image.

The sound is much improved, something I don't usually notice.

Grayscale is about the same as on the DVD: variable, very poor in spots. This is not a good demo for black contrast. The Blu-ray might blow out the whites in a couple of spots.

Despite the issues, if you like the film I recommend the upgrade.

My Blu-ray rental was from ClassicFlix; Netflix doesn't have it.