The Movies go to War
November 20 TWELVE O’CLOCK HIGH (1950) 2 hrs and 12 min.
In this story of World War II daylight bombing raids over Nazi Germany, General Frank Savage [Gregory Peck] takes command of a “hard luck” bomber group suffering from rock-bottom morale, and struggles to whip them into a disciplined fighting unit in spite of heavy losses.
This film was used by the U.S. Navy as an example of leadership styles in its Leadership and Management Training School. The Air Force College for Enlisted Professional Military Education and the Army Command and General Staff College also used it, as did the Harvard Business School as a case study in how to effect change in organizations. It was frequently cited by former bomber crews as the only accurate Hollywood depiction of their war. The B-17 bomber crash landing was an actual crash; stunt pilot Paul Mantz was paid $4,500 to crash-land the bomber; until the 1970s, that was the largest amount ever paid to a stuntman for a single stunt. Actual combat footage was incorporated into the film.