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"Destination Tokyo"

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Character's Name: Captain Cassidy
Release Date:  January 1, 1944
Director: Delmar Daves
Studio:  Warner Brothers
Running Time: 135 minutes

Cast:  Cary Grant (Captain Cassidy), John Garfield (Wolf), Alan Hale (Cookie), John Ridgely (Reserve Officer), Warner Anderson (Exectuvie Officer), Dane Clark (Tin Can), William Prince (Pills), Robert Hutton (Tommy), Peter Whitney (Dakota), Tom Tully (Mike), John Forsythe (Sparks)

- by ZoŽ Shaw
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 end.

- by Laila Valente
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!

VARIETY Film Review - December 22, 1943
by "Kahn"
- 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
Aside 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.

Afterthoughts: Destination Graustark
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. 

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