Destination Tokyo (1944)

Genres - War  |   Sub-Genres - Combat Films, War Drama  |   Run Time - 135 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Although modern audiences may find many of the situations in Destination Tokyo rather clichéd, it's still a gripping submarine thriller. Tokyo is also a bit long, but the problem isn't that sections of the film drag; it's that it feels like the creators tried to get too much into the story. This isn't such a problem in the first half, where director Delmer Daves and writers Steve Fisher and Alfred Maltz spend time letting the audience get to know the large cast of characters and learn about life aboard a submarine. (Of course, this being Hollywood, the submarine is glamorized in terms of space, equipment, etc.) It does become a problem in the latter half of the film -- the "meat" of the picture -- when there are too many action sequences one right after the other. There are other glitches as well, such as the fact that some of the characters are a bit clichéd and that some of the timeline is seriously askew (although the latter will probably be recognized only be avid war historians). Many will find fault with the propagandistic aspects of the film, particularly a lengthy "letter home" sequence (which is apparently often deleted from many prints). Fortunately, Tokyo's cast helps to overcome these flaws, especially Cary Grant, who is aces as the man who holds both the submarine and the film together. He gets excellent support from John Garfield, Dane Clark, Alan Hale and Robert Hutton. And even with its faults, Tokyo manages to keep the viewer involved and engaged, even if he already knows the outcome.