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Thirty Seconds over Tokyo is a 1944 MGM war film. The screenplay by Dalton Trumbo was based on a 1943 book by Ted W. Lawson. In both book and film Lawson gives an eye-witness account of the training, mission and aftermath that he and his crew experienced as part of the Doolittle Raid in April 1942. Lawson shared his first-hand experience as the pilot of the "Ruptured Duck", the seventh of sixteen B-25s to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet. The film is also noted for its attention to historical details of the raid as well as its use of actual movie footage of the bombers flying scenes. The film begins February 1942 in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack as the American Army plans to retaliate by bombing Tokyo. Colonel "Jimmy" Doolittle (Spencer Tracy) the leader of the mission assembled an elite group of aviators who begin to prepare by learning to fly B-25 Mitchell medium bombers from the deck of an aircraft carrier. One of the lead pilots is Captain Ted Lawson (Van Johnson) whose story frames the action of the training, launch from the carrier USS Hornet and harrowing attack on Tokyo. Through a series of mishaps, the 16 bombers are forced to take off too early and after the attack, have to abort to China where some of the crews are captured by the Japanese. Lawson and his crew, including co-pilot Lt. Bob Gray (Robert Mitchum) face tremendous odds before being rescued. The movie ends with surviving Doolittle Raiders being received as heroes in America.

Starring ... Van Johnson, Robert Walker, Robert Mitchum, Spencer Tracy,
Phyllis Thaxter, Stephen McNally

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Producer: Sam Zimbalist


Year Released - Nov. 1944

Length - 138 minutes

Music Composer: Herbert Stothart

Movie Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer



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