12 O’clock High

Jack wrote this in September, 2006:

Morning to you.

Jeanne loaned me some old movies a while back.  I don’t have a television, but I do have a thing with a VCR attached to it so’s I’m able to look at movies when I have them and don’t want to read or do something else.

Watched 12 Oclock High last night.

Not a bad movie as old post-WWII movies go.  Gregory Peck Generalling a B-17  Flying Fortress bomber command during the early stages of precision daylight bombing.

The air-combat scenes were all actual wing-camera footage from German wing-cameras and US bomber gun-cameras taken in actual combat, so while it had reality it lacked the drama found in staged footage.  Those combat footages can never compete with special effects and pilots/gunners who aren’t wetting their pants and wondering if they’ll be alive in five minutes.

I don’t recall ever being impressed before by how young all those guys were.

Seventeen, eighteen-year-old baby faced youngsters swiveling around in gun-turrets behind .50 caliber machine guns at 20,000 feet trying to kill twenty-year-old Germans who are trying to kill them.

Reminded me a bit of Joseph Hellerman’s paranoid B-17 pilot in Catch 22.

“They’re trying to kill me!” Yosarian declared to the psychiatrist.  “They hate me.”

“What makes you think they hate you?”

“Every time I go up to drop bombs on them they try to shoot me down,” Yosarian lamented.

Sounds strangely contemporary.


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