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The Axis Powers had been routed. World War II had been won. Coming off such an emotional and physical release from VE-Day and VJ-Day, Americans were ready for the inevitable postwar peace and prosperity. Hollywood, meanwhile, still had a ton of war-related projects that were already committed to production, such as They Were Expendable, released in December 1945. Other postwar films that dealt with WWII did so only in terms of returning servicemen such as the Best Picture winner of 1946, The Best Years of Our Lives, which focused on the problems the returning soldiers experienced on the home front. Nevertheless, there were a number of postwar films that took place on the field of battle, and one of the best was Command Decision (1948), starring Clark Gable, who was now a WWII veteran himself.
Based on a play by William Wister Haines, Command Decision is an intriguing look at the hard decisions commanders have to make that often result in the unavoidable deaths of brave American soldiers. The mission in question in Command Decision is very similar to "Black Thursday," a raid on German factories that occurred on October 14, 1943 and resulted in the loss of over 600 men. Gable had plenty of experience to bring to his role as the hard-nosed commander. He joined the Air Force in 1942, shortly after his wife, the lovely comedienne Carole Lombard, was killed in a plane crash. Like other stars that enlisted in the war, men like Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, and Robert Taylor, Gable excelled outside the comforts of Hollywood. He quickly rose in rank from lieutenant to major and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal for flying several bombing missions over Germany.
Director: Sam Wood
Producer: Sidney Franklin,
Screenplay: George Froeschel, William Wister Haines, William R. Laidlaw
Cinematography: Harold Rosson
Editor: Harold F. Kress
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Urie McCleary
Music: Miklos Rozsa
Cast: Clark Gable (Brig. General K.C. "Casey" Dennis), Walter Pidgeon (Maj. Gen. Roland Goodlaw Kane), Van Johnson (Technical Sergeant Immanuel T. Evans), Brian Donlevy (Brig. Gen. Clifton I. Garnet), Charles Bickford (Elmer Brockhurst).
BW-112m. Close captioning.
by Scott McGee