Above and Beyond (1952)

Genres - Drama, Historical Film  |   Sub-Genres - Docudrama  |   Release Date - Nov 21, 1952 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 122 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Above and Beyond takes as its focus the men who were responsible for delivering the atomic bomb to Hiroshima, with a particular emphasis on Col. Paul Tibbets, the commander in charge of the mission. It's a good film, despite a variety of flaws, the major one being that it attempts to attack the story from two angles and manages to dilute the potential force of the piece thereby. Those two angles are the professional and the personal, or the details that went into the planning and execution of the mission and the effect that the mission -- and especially its top class secrecy -- has upon Tibbets' marriage. Above would have been a better film had it concentrated solely on either aspect; by trying to cover all bases, the professional sections come across as a bit too dry and technical and the personal as far too soapy and contrived. However, there are a number of points worth noting, including the fact that Above is unafraid to depict the difficult conditions that at the time confronted any married couple in which one of the spouses was in the armed services. And while some of the details concerning the lead-up to the bombing drag on a bit, the actual mission itself is tense and gripping. Robert Taylor turns in one of his stronger performances, and there's a palpable chemistry between Taylor and Eleanor Parker; James Whitmore provides valuable support. The direction is uneven, but when it hits, it hits solidly.