- by ZoŽ
A story about a submarine whose
destination is.....Tokyo. Everything that could happen to the Copperfin does
happen. However, captained by Cassidy, the submarine isn't destroyed at the
- by Laila
Destination Tokyo is the first movie directed by Delmer
Daves, chosen by CG himself. It was a very good choice. Grant is Cassidy, the captain of
the USS Copperfin, a submarine with a very dangerous mission: to unload some observers in
the Tokyo bay to gain information for a massive air raid. The submarine is pursued by the
enemy at the Aleutians, gets hit by a bomb, cuts through a mine field and safety escapes a
depth bombing. There are also moments of crisis within the crew: the diffusion of a bomb in
the hull and an unexpected appendicitis. The movie ends with the family of Cassidy waiting
for him on the quay.
Destination Tokyo is a notable action movie (135 min.),
maybe one of the best contributions to the "underwater" war. All the
interpretations are cool, moderate and very masculine. Cassidy is everything you may want
from CG : straight, sober, brave and strategically unbeatable. He leads his men and at the
same time is one of them. He does not lose control in the decisive moments, but he has no
fear in telling he is scared to die. If you love men in uniforms, watch carefully the
first appearance of CG in blue- navy suit: gorgeous!
Film Review - December 22, 1943
- submitted by Barry Martin
In a season replete with many war dramas, 'Destination Tokyo' is a standout addition. For sheer intensity of melodrama it certainly must take its place with any film to come out of this war. Its excellence as a document paying tribute to a valiant unit of the American Navy - the submarine - is something that must go
unquestioned. Nor can there be any doubt as to its smash boxoffice prospects.
What Warners has done for America's air heroes, in 'Air Force,' it has
achieved for America's undersea fighters. For this is an exciting and absorbing story of how a single submarine paved the way for the
Flying Fortress attack on Japan more than a year ago.
How much of it is fact, and how much fiction, is not to be determined casually. That some of it is based on fact there can be no doubt. Its credulity can be best measured in terms of the past year's headlines.
'Destination Tokyo' runs two hours and 15 minutes, and that's a lot of film. But none of it is wasted. In its unspooling is
crammed enough excitement for possibly a couple of pictures. It is tightly compact,
and exhibitors can merchandize a film of such magnitude and cost to the fullest.
Here is a film whose hero is the Stars and Stripes; the performers are merely symbols of that heroism. Here is a film whose marquee may convey the stellar billing of Cary Grant and John Garfield, but the two are no less the stars than the comparatively insignificant character one may find at the very bottom of the casting credits. Here is a film fully representative of a wartime Lady Liberty. Here is a film of superbly pooled talents.
As in 'Air Force,' which detailed a single mission of a Flying Fort, 'Destination Tokyo' tells of a single mission undertaken by a sub. Its destination is Tokyo.
Under sealed orders opened 24 hours after it has sped from San Francisco Harbor the sub first has a rendezvous with a Navy plane near Kiska. There it takes aboard a meteorologist whom the sub is to deposit in Japan to survey conditions as a guide to the attack of the Fortress armada taking off from the aircraft carrier Hornet.
Fantastic may well describe this story, and fantastic though it may be there is enough to indicate
that it has been no concoction of the sheerest fancy. Only the war's end could possibly clarify it variable factors.
It is a film of action, but not continuously so. Where it does lapse in movement there is always retained the thought of impending action. This is no film where an audience can afford to sit back.
Considerable of the situational drama is little short of terrific. There is an exciting two or three minutes when a crew member unfastens the detonator cap on what is presumably a dud dropped by a Jap plane into the hold of the sub - all this i hushed expectancy lest a slight jar set it off. There is the
emergency appendicitis operation performed on one of the sub's crew by a pharmacist's mate without previous surgical experience - an operation performed from instructions in a surgical manual. There is the expectancy of the seemingly inevitable as the sub flees the Jap fleet whose every depth charge sends the sub closer to its doom.
The credits are lavish, and each one in his turn has turned in a spectacular job. Jery Wald handled the production, and he must have spent plenty. Delmer Daves' direction achieved the superlative in
dovetailing script with performance. Daves doubled into the scripting with Albert Maltz. The special montage effects lend the illusion of realism, particularly in the Tokyo bombing scene. The
musical score is a fine one.
Cary Grant has never been better as the sub's skipper, underplaying the role and so
setting the performance pace for the entire pic. John Garfield gives one of his fine portrayals as the sailor with a
perpetual femme yen, and the roster of featured performers gives capital characterizations all the way down the line. Among the more notable performances are those of Alan Hale, Warner Anderson, William Prince, Robert Hutton, Dane Clark and John Ridgely.
A film without feminine allure is an anomaly in these days of filmmaking, but 'Destination Tokyo' is such a picture. It has only two brief shots of femmes, but they have no link with the story. This story doesn't miss them.
The film academicians can maintain their stand of more 'escapist' pix to help forget the war, but 'Destination Tokyo' need make no apologies on that score. There can be no escape from reality.
NEW YORK TIMES
Film Review - January 1, 1944
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
from a most auspicious title with which to start the new year, the
Warners have got a pippin of a submarine action film in
"Destination Tokyo," which came to the Strand yesterday.
Mind you, we don't say it's authentic; we don't even say it's a
fair account of the way our submariners live and fight on their
Far Pacific patrols. Almost every fable which has yet come out
about those fellows, along with a fantastic whopper which the boys
at Warners dreamed up themselves, has been crammed into the
two-hours-and-ten-minutes length of this film. Everything seems to
happen to the men of the sub in this case, and they rise to the
challenging occasions like the heroes of Hollywood that they are.
Mind you, we don't say it is credible; we don't even suggest that
it makes sense. But it does make a pippin of a picture, for a
purely melodramatic point of view.
For what the Warner
people have fashioned in their characteristic hard-focus style, is
a studiously purposeful "epic" of the submarine service
in this war. And when those boys grit their teeth and go to it, an
"epic," by golly, it will be! In their "pig
boat" which leaves San Francisco under sealed orders at the
outset of this film - in the new and beautifully appointed U.S.S.
Copperfin - is as lusty and typical a crew of sailors as the
Warners ever shipped on from their casting list.
There is Cary Grant
as commander, a crisp, cool and kind-hearted gent who is every bit
as resourceful as he is handsome and slyly debonair. There is John
Garfield as a torpedoman with a great line of gab about
"dames," and Alan Hale as chief-cook, strong of lungs
but oddly old for submarines. There is Dane Clark as a Greek boy
who has a score to even up, and Tom Tully as an Irishman with a
quiet religious faith. Then there is Robert Hutton as the
inevitable nervous kid, and a dozen or more rugged fellows who
look ship-shape in the background.
And scarcely has
their sub cleared San Francisco before the tension and excitement
begin with a crash dive and hiding under water from what later
turns out to be a gull. But that is only the beginning. Sealed
orders are broken out, and the Copperfin is instructed to proceed
to - Tokyo Bay! More than that, it is to go by the Aleutians,
there to pick up a meteorologist who is to be landed in Japan for
the purpose of gauging the weather for a bombing raid on Tokyo!
Those sound like
sealed orders direct from Hollywood. But, at least, they provide
for some remarkably heroic and suspenseful action stuff. The sub
is attacked by Japanese warplanes in the Aleutians and gets a bomb
in her deck; the skinniest man aboard her has to crawl in and
de-fuse it - the nervous kid! The sub has to follow an enemy
warship through the mine fields and net into Tokyo Bay and there
put the weather observer ashore (though we don't know just why).
While in Tokyo Bay, one of the crewmen - that nervous kid again -
comes down with appendicitis and the pharmacist mate operates on
him. (We know - you read about it in the papers; but it still
seems odd to us that this sub should have all the best equipment
except a modern surgical kit.)
And then, to top
things off, the Copperfin sinks an aircraft carrier outside Tokyo
Bay and takes unquestionably the most terrific depth-bombing that
has ever been played on the screen. The "tin cans"
explode all around her; the men inside vibrate like Disney
characters. The Warners really sweat you out with this one. When
it's over, you and the crew have had enough.
There is a whole
lot more in the picture - all in that same general vein - and also
some rather touching (albeit conventional) heart-throb stuff. The
interior scenes are fascinating - the gadgets and all that sort of
thing; and the undersea model work is graphic, for all its
inside-the-Blue-Grott look. Delmar Daves directed and helped write
the script with Albert Maltz. Credit all and sundry with the first
thundering war film of the year.
by Bosley Crowther
The chief fault, in
our estimation, with the Warners' Destination Tokyo" is that
there is just too doggone much of it and is all too conventionally
crammed in. Granted the Warners wanted to show us as much as they
possibly could of the ever-present perils and excitements of life
in a fighting submarine; granted they wanted to give us a noble
picture of the men in our "pig boats" which poke their
deadly noses into the very home waters of Japan, it still might
have been accomplished with just a little less visual
extravagance. The Warners could have paid a finer tribute with
about 5,000 less words - or feet of film.
We can't say from
our own knowledge that the plot of this film is the bunk. It might
be concealed within the records that an American submarine landed
an observation party on the shores of Tokyo Bay a few hours before
our famous bombing of the Japanese capital last year. It might be
(though we don't yet believe it_ that this perilous risk was
undergone just so the observation party might set up a couple of
instruments and send out one weather report. It might be that an
amateur appendectomy was performed in the submarine while it was
lying in waiting at the bottom of Tokyo Bay - and that this sub,
which was beautifully outfitted with virtually everything but a
cow, should not have had a board it a decent surgical kit.
All of these things
may have happened, plus many more, as set down in this film. But
to us it seems wholly implausible, and thus does "Destination
Tokyo." It has a lot of exciting incident in it; some slick,
manly performances are turned in by Cary Grant (as the commander),
John Garfield, Alan Hale and Dane Clark. But an essential rule of
visual drama, which is to put within a frame only so much explicit
action as can be realistically accepted in a space of time, is
here completely violated. The Warners have a big but too
extravagant action film.
- by Kathy Fox
This is Cary Grant's
44th film and the only one in which he was directed by Delmer Daves.
It is basically the only film in which Cary did not have a female co-star.
This film was made in 1943, and released on January 1, 1944. So, as I
was being born, Cary Grant was making DESTINATION TOKYO. Can it be
that long ago? I have the colorized version of this film and I like it
for several reasons. It is interesting to see all the operations on
the submarine, I think Cary makes a very good captain, playing Captain
Cassidy, and as we see him without a woman, we have many close-ups of him,
which show his handsome face and we hear him speak those great lines, some
serious, some with laughter, always with gentility He is a very natural
actor and everything he does seems to be so easy for him. I am not
sure I totally understand the plot of the movie, but it takes place during
World War II, when Tokyo was bombed. One poignant part in the movie is
when one of the men aboard ship gets ill and has to have an appendectomy.
Cary helps with the surgery. The young man survives. The
underwater scenes are very beautiful in color and the film is believable.
Since Cary did not go to war, he was much more valuable on the silver
screen, he made this movie as part of the war effort at home.
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
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