Compelling WWII drama Twelve O’Clock High focuses on the emotional effects the fear and anxiety of war have on fighting men. When a compassionate bomber-squadron leader (Gary Merrill) resists taking his scarred, jumpy men on one more near-suicidal daytime mission, he’s replaced by by-the-book general Gregory Peck.
After exposure to the dangers his men face, Peck becomes more uncertain than his predecessor, even suffering a nervous collapse from the stress. One of the few war films to depict the real human costs of war (based on the true story of Gen. Frank Armstrong), it also includes terrifying aerial sequences that make real the dangers the fliers faced.
Twelve O’Clock High is based on a novel by Sy Bartlett and Beirne Lay, Jr., who also wrote the screenplay. The film was later adapted as a 1960s television series starring Paul Burke, Andrew Duggan, Lew Gallo and Robert Lansing.
Academy Award Nominations: 4, including Best Picture, Best Actor: Gregory Peck.
Cast: Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill, Millard Mitchell, Dean Jagger, Robert Arthur, Paul Stewart, John Kellogg, Robert Patten, Lee MacGregor, Sam Edwards, Roger Anderson, Lawrence Dobkin, Paul Picerni, Harry Lauter, Barry Jones, Don Gordon, Kenneth Tobey
Director: Henry King
Producer: Darryl F. Zanuck
Composer: Alfred Newman
Director of Photography: Leon Shamroy
Production Companies: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release Date: 21 December 1949
Running Time: 2 h 12 min
Genres: War, Action, Drama
Country: United States of America
Tagline: A story of twelve men as their women never knew them…
Budget and Box Office takings where known