In this powerful piece of WWII agitprop, Dana Andrews stars as Capt. Harvey Ross, the ranking officer in a group of eight airmen who have been shot down by the Japanese during a key bombing raid, only to be exhibited in a show trial by their captors before being executed. Their "judges" promise to show leniency to any prisoners who agree to reveal crucial U.S. military secrets. However, they may have underestimated the courage of their prisoners.
It might seem ironic that the director of the anti-war masterpiece ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONTwas involved with this clearly propagandistic film, but given the exigencies of WWII, it's difficult to imagine the situation being otherwise. Dana Andrews and Farley Granger star, respectively, as Capt. Harvey Ross and Sgt. Howard Clinton. They are among a group of eight airmen who, as part of Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle's raid on Tokyo, have been shot down by the Japanese and are being held in prison, awaiting execution. However, for propaganda value, the Japanese have decided to try their prisoners as war criminals before eliminating them. They have also promised to show clemency if any of the Americans are willing to provide valuable military secrets. How will the airmen, many of whom have already been badly tortured, respond to this questionable offer' Despite caricatures of the Japanese which now seem ridiculous, the cast, which also includes Sam Levene and Richard Conte is uniformly excellent, as is Lewis Milestone's direction.