Published on July 12th, 2010 | by Chris0
Destination Tokyo (1943)
Yeah, sometimes you just have to kick back, and take in the classics for what they are. That is to say, undeniable products of their time. 1943's Destination Tokyo is definitely one of those films.
I'd go as far as saying that Destination Tokyo is one of the prime examples of your typical US wartime "propaganda" films. Not as bad as some I've seen, but definitely right up there on the list.
The fictionalized plot goes something like this. The submarine USS Copperfin, led by Captain Cassidy (Cary Grant), is dispatched on Christmas Eve, presumably 1942. Its mission? To sneak past the nets directly into Tokyo Bay, and dispatch a landing party to provide weather reports in front of a Doolittle-style carrier-based bombing run over Tokyo. And if targets present themselves on the way out (which they do) to fire at will (which they also do.) As a typical wartime action picture its not all that bad, really. It doesn't have quite the submarine tension of other movies, but its not bad.
What's really curious to me about Destination Tokyo is the portrayal of the sailors on board the Copperfin. They all seem to be a bunch of happy-go-lucky types, more or less enjoying themselves and "palling" around in a happy friendly "aw shucks" style. Sure there's danger (cue music) and sure enough one of them is killed by a downed Japanese pilot (cue music again), one comes down with appendicitis and is operated on by the medic (cue music!)... but overall they seem to have it pretty damned good. Just the kind of thing all those mothers, wives, fathers, and kids back home would like to think is going on. Compared to the alternative, that is. Right down to the decoration-filled (we are on a space-limited submarine, right?) Christmas party.
Another thing you can't help but notice is the outright fear-mongering aimed at the Japanese that's portrayed here. Wow, is all I can say. "There isn't even a word for love in their language." "They're taught to fight and kill from the age of five!" Etc., etc. I can understand the sentiment behind such propaganda, and the culture that created it, but looking back from this day-and-age, its pretty, well, unbelievable.
In short, Destination Tokyo is a flag-waving, patriotism-inducing, feel-good, picture made for the folks back home, during a period where we needed to feel good about what we were doing.... with the above caveats of course. And hey, its got Cary Grant in it, so it can't be all bad, right?
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The offbeat casting of Cary Grant as a submarine captain pays off in this tense WWII underwater picture; he ably trades in his sophistication for the sweaty close quarters of an action movie. The mission? Infiltrate the mined harbor of Tokyo itself, a feat bookended by a brief confrontation in the Aleutians and a depth-charge chase through the open sea...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: Warner Brothers
Original Release Date:
- Run Time: 135
- Release Date: 2/14/2006
- CARY GRANT JOHN GARFIELD
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not "Das Boot" But Maybe Close - A Must See,
This review is from: Destination Tokyo (Amazon Video)
Read the synopsis somewhere else. I will tell you that I had a friend who served on the actual mission. He told me the whole story was really told in this film. He allowed for Hollywood add-ons and the fact that some of the crew were composites of two or three members of the boat's company. He said that the whole, real story might have taken four hours on film. He said that the appendicitis scene actually happened. They had captured Japanese on board (he did not remember the exact number), but that none of the prisoners were any trouble except one who was sick and complained a lot. He said the knifing scene did not happen and that during tense moments the prisoners were just a worried as the crew. He loved the movie which he saw on TV after the war and could not believe how acurate it was in terms of submarine life. I miss you Rusty and as a former Navy man, I salute all the members of the Silent Service.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A 5 Star of Stars:,
This review is from: Destination Tokyo (DVD)
The main charecters Grant, Garfield, Hale & Dane Clark were all seasoned actors of the WW II era. Garfield & Clark both did " Pride of the Marines " which was a hit with factual accounts Marine hero Lou Diamond & his foxhole machine gun assistant.Al Schmid. Delmar Daves directed that movie also besides this one & 3:10 to Yuma. Alan Hale always great acting by him in any role such as he was in Errol Flynn's " Robin Hood " playing Little John with his strong & hearty persona he carries so well. Cary Grant in a more serious role part he was starting to get more often as his career went on. You see a different Cary Grant from his crackpot roles in the 30s. He was a master in Hollywood at any & all. This is a full feature movie of entertainment with some great suspense that shows just how good Grant is. I added this movie to my Home Theater library & I only put on my shelves good ones.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The granddaddy of all submarine movies,
This review is from: Destination Tokyo (DVD)This is often called the granddaddy of submarine movies, and it's one of the most famous. Made in the middle of World War II, with the outcome still in doubt, it conveys the fears and determination of the entire country, as its citizens faced a powerful and equally determined enemy in Japan. Cary Grant is superb in a dramatic role as captain of the U.S.S. Copperfin, assigned to a penetrate Tokyo Bay to gather intelligence in advance of an aerial bombardment (an approximation of the raid by Lt. Col. James Dolittle and his squadron of carrier-launched, B-25 aircraft, which had taken place the previous year). Along the way, the sub stops in the Aleutians to pick up a naval commando being sent on the top-secret mission. It's definitely a product of its time, and the studio effects seem dated, but get set for a riveting wartime drama. Phil's Favorite... Read more
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Summary: Destination Tokyo is a flag-waving, patriotism-inducing, feel-good, picture made for the folks back home