Destination Tokyo (1944)

131 or 135 mins | Drama | 1 January 1944

Director:

Delmer Daves

Producer:

Jerry Wald

Cinematographer:

Bert Glennon

Editor:

Christian Nyby

Production Designer:

Leo Kuter

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to an article in NYHT , technical advisor Andy Lennox was a member of the crew of the submarine Wahoo , whose skipper, Lieutenant Commander Dudley Walker Morton, also offered advice to the filmmakers. After the picture's production, the Wahoo was reported missing in action. The emergency appendectomy performed by "Pills" in the film was inspired by an actual 1942 incident aboard the submarine Seadragon , in which pharmacist's mate W. B. Lipes successfully removed the appendex of seaman Darrell Dean Rector. As in the film, the real operation took place while the vessel was submerged, and was performed by Lipes at the urging of his officers, who felt that Lipes, who had observed appendectomies, was the best person to operate. According to a 19 Apr 2005 LAT obituary of Lipes, he used a strainer and other kitchen equipment to perform the surgery, the first reported operation in a submerged submarine.
       Key members of the cast spent time at the submarine base at the Mare Island Navy Yard in San Francisco Bay in order to become familiar with submarine operations. The Copperfin was designed to be an accurate scale model of a working submarine, but in order to confuse the enemy, the equipment and operating apparatus were a mixture of those found on all types of American submarines. A 26 Jul 1943 HR news item notes that some scenes were filmed on location in Portuguese Bend near Redondo Beach, CA.
       Cary Grant was borrowed from Columbia for this film. A 3 Dec 1943 HR news item notes that the ... More Less

According to an article in NYHT , technical advisor Andy Lennox was a member of the crew of the submarine Wahoo , whose skipper, Lieutenant Commander Dudley Walker Morton, also offered advice to the filmmakers. After the picture's production, the Wahoo was reported missing in action. The emergency appendectomy performed by "Pills" in the film was inspired by an actual 1942 incident aboard the submarine Seadragon , in which pharmacist's mate W. B. Lipes successfully removed the appendex of seaman Darrell Dean Rector. As in the film, the real operation took place while the vessel was submerged, and was performed by Lipes at the urging of his officers, who felt that Lipes, who had observed appendectomies, was the best person to operate. According to a 19 Apr 2005 LAT obituary of Lipes, he used a strainer and other kitchen equipment to perform the surgery, the first reported operation in a submerged submarine.
       Key members of the cast spent time at the submarine base at the Mare Island Navy Yard in San Francisco Bay in order to become familiar with submarine operations. The Copperfin was designed to be an accurate scale model of a working submarine, but in order to confuse the enemy, the equipment and operating apparatus were a mixture of those found on all types of American submarines. A 26 Jul 1943 HR news item notes that some scenes were filmed on location in Portuguese Bend near Redondo Beach, CA.
       Cary Grant was borrowed from Columbia for this film. A 3 Dec 1943 HR news item notes that the film's world premiere, which was held in Pittsburgh, benefitted crippled children. According to a press release included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, "Cassidy's" children were played by director Delmer Daves's children, Michael and Deborah. Steve Fisher received an Academy Award nomination for his original story. Modern sources note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt requested that this film make no reference to radar or military electronics. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Dec 1943.
---
Daily Variety
21 Dec 43
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Dec 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 44
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
25 Dec 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
25 Dec 43
p. 1685.
New York Herald Tribune
2 Jan 1944.
---
New York Times
1 Jan 44
p. 3.
Variety
22 Dec 43
p. 12.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Stephen Richards
George W. Robotham
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Prod
WRITERS
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Props
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Orch arr
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 January 1944
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Pittsburgh: 15 December 1943
Production Date:
21 June--4 September 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 January 1944
Copyright Number:
LP12406
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
131 or 135
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On Christmas Eve, the submarine U.S.S. Copperfin leaves San Francisco Bay under sealed orders. Christmas morning, the crew, which includes Tommy Adams, a new recruit; Tin Can, a Greek American who fervently hates the Nazis; Wolf, who is always talking about his female conquests; Pills, a former science student who is now the medical officer; Mike, a quietly religious man; and Captain Cassidy, celebrates the holiday. After twenty-four hours at sea, Cassidy opens the orders, which direct him to proceed to Tokyo, by way of the Aleutian Islands. As the submarine approaches the Aleutians, a plane is spotted overhead. It is an American plane carrying Raymond, a meteorologist, who is traveling with the crew to Tokyo. Then two Japanese planes are spotted, and a battle ensues. Both planes are shot down, but the pilot of one of them parachutes to safety. When Mike tries to help him out of the water, the pilot stabs him to death and is killed in turn by Tommy. Because he was slow to shoot the pilot, Tommy blames himself for Mike's death and volunteers to defuse an unexploded bomb that has lodged under the boat's deck. After the bomb is successfully defused, the men bury Mike at sea. Tin Can does not attend the service, which infuriates the other men, but he explains that his favorite uncle, a philosopher, was killed by the Nazis, and every Allied death causes him great pain. As the submarine nears Tokyo Bay, Cassidy informs the men that the ship must negotiate the mine fields on the bay's perimeter. When a returning Japanese cruiser ... +


On Christmas Eve, the submarine U.S.S. Copperfin leaves San Francisco Bay under sealed orders. Christmas morning, the crew, which includes Tommy Adams, a new recruit; Tin Can, a Greek American who fervently hates the Nazis; Wolf, who is always talking about his female conquests; Pills, a former science student who is now the medical officer; Mike, a quietly religious man; and Captain Cassidy, celebrates the holiday. After twenty-four hours at sea, Cassidy opens the orders, which direct him to proceed to Tokyo, by way of the Aleutian Islands. As the submarine approaches the Aleutians, a plane is spotted overhead. It is an American plane carrying Raymond, a meteorologist, who is traveling with the crew to Tokyo. Then two Japanese planes are spotted, and a battle ensues. Both planes are shot down, but the pilot of one of them parachutes to safety. When Mike tries to help him out of the water, the pilot stabs him to death and is killed in turn by Tommy. Because he was slow to shoot the pilot, Tommy blames himself for Mike's death and volunteers to defuse an unexploded bomb that has lodged under the boat's deck. After the bomb is successfully defused, the men bury Mike at sea. Tin Can does not attend the service, which infuriates the other men, but he explains that his favorite uncle, a philosopher, was killed by the Nazis, and every Allied death causes him great pain. As the submarine nears Tokyo Bay, Cassidy informs the men that the ship must negotiate the mine fields on the bay's perimeter. When a returning Japanese cruiser and two destroyers approach the bay, Cassidy decides to follow them into the bay and thus avoid the mines. That night, Wolf, Raymond and Sparks go ashore to make the observations necessary for a future air attack on Tokyo. While the men are away, Tommy is discovered to have a ruptured appendix, and Pills operates with the help of an instruction book and improvised scalpels. When the men on shore finish their observations, Raymond, who was reared in Tokyo, broadcasts their findings in Japanese. Despite this precaution, the Japanese decide to investigate the broadcast location, and the men narrowly escape discovery. Using the radioed information, the air attack on Tokyo begins, and the men of the Copperfin watch it through their periscope. After the attack, the submarine again slips through the mine fields by following a Japanese ship. The submarine's position is later revealed when the crew torpedoes a Japanese aircraft carrier. Other Japanese ships bomb the Copperfin , which is badly damaged. When the submarine is unable to evade the destroyer that is following it, Cassidy orders the men to attack. The destroyer is sunk, and the submarine heads back to San Francisco, where Cassidy's wife and children are waiting at the dock. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.