Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twelve O'Clock High - Peck and King combine for a thoughtful and moving WWII movie, 11 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Twelve O'clock High [DVD] (DVD)
Through the history of film there have been a few classic pairings of director and actor that have produced some out and out great films - Anthony Mann/James Stewart, John Huston/Humphrey Bogart, John Ford/John Wayne for example. I would humbly add Henry King/Gregory Peck to that list. Though (as far as I know) they only made three films together, The Gunfighter, Twelve O'Clock High and Bravados, all three stand as some of the best work in the canon of either man, and all three were great movies that had that extra something that set them apart from the herd.

Whereas The Gunfighter and The Bravados were Westerns, Twelve O'clock High sees the pair tackle a WW2 film. There are many types of war film - the boys own adventure sort (such as Where Eagles Dare), the shockingly viscerally realistic (Saving Private Ryan), and attempts to dramatise real events (The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far). Generally I like them all in one way or another, but what really gets my interest are films that show the human cost of war, films that show how ordinary people are forced by circumstance to extraordinary acts, and the effect it has upon them. Films such as Cruel Sea, Dawn Patrol, and this fine effort.

Peck stars as the commander of an air force unit. The unit has been underperforming, and Peck believes this to be the fault of the commanding officer, who he replaces with himself. The film follows his efforts to bring the unit up to scratch, at first clashing with the men and eventually winning their respect. The constant pressure takes it's toll on him, until finally he breaks down, leading to the film's final moving and powerful scene as he waits for teh squadron to return from a particularly deadly mission.

General Savage is one of those characters Peck played so well - a fundamentally decent man, he has the best interests of his men at heart. Everything he does, every seeming cruel act, is purely motivated by the desire to make sure they return alive from their next mission. He portrays the pressure that this puts upon the man to a tee, and you really feel for Savage as he descends into breakdown. It's a moving portrayal, and one of the better of Peck's performances for my money.

This Studio Classics release from Fox is pretty good, with an excellent transfer and picture quality. I have been impressed with all the DVD's I have had from this range. Highly recommended purchase to those who like action and a bit of thought provoking. 5 stars.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 May 2015 03:45:43 BDT
Dennis Watts says:
They (King & Peck) also did David & Bethsheba
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