Monday, August 06, 2012
Above and Beyond (4 stars)
Today is the sixty-seventh anniversary of the day the United States dropped the atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, which, when combined with the bombing of Nagasaki a few days later, would bring an end to the second world war. The dropping of that bomb was a very controversial action, and it is not my intent to debate whether or not President Truman made the right choice by doing so.
What I do want to do is recommend a movie which depicts this action and its effects on the crew involved in it. The movie, Above and Beyond, is from 1953 and stars Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker. Although it's a Hollywood movie and, therefore, probably saw much license being taken, it does depict the stress and uncertainty felt by the crew dropping the bomb, specifically focusing on the pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets. Making the decision to go through with that mission was not something he took lightly, nor was it without personal consequences. Mr. Taylor (as Colonel Tibbets) and Miss Parker (as Mrs. Tibbets) both play their roles to perfection, bringing their characters' very agonized emotions to life brilliantly.
Above and Beyond, a wonderful drama with some excellent aerial footage, would make a fabulous discussion piece. I do believe the film is out on DVD; however, it is also available, in several different parts, on YouTube. Try to catch it if you can.
(Just FYI, this film could easily have been included when I listed my 5 favorite Robert Taylor films yesterday; I was hard-pressed to determine if this one, Bataan, or Escape would take positions 4 and 5. Ultimately, I chose the other two over this one, but only by the narrowest of margins. I really like this film and highly recommend it.)