Destination Tokyo Reviews

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May 24, 2015
Destination Tokyo reveals itself in three distinct ways: (1) it proved submarine films were marketable enterprises and the claustrophobic conditions aboard a sub did not necessarily translate to the audience (a big concern at the time); (2) Destination Tokyo stars Cary Grant, a bankable star and great asset to a risky film, but as audiences likely accepted Grant more openly in 1943 audiences of later generations may find him hard to buy as the steadfast, down-to-earth sub captain sweating it out with the grunts. Grant built a career off being a suave, sophisticated, urbane rake who could act circles around most actors and give directors and producers all kinds of A-list ego. After Destination Tokyo, Grant could almost name his price. Also, the film stars John Garfield in an early role and he plays second string to Grant well as smart mouth crewman who is as patriotic as his is mouthy. In addition, Alan Hale, Sr. - one of the all time great character actors - is a familiar figure as the cook. By 1943, audiences knew Hale well from his frequent appearances in film throughout the 1920s, 1930s,and early 1940s; (3) finally, Destination Tokyo is a World War II film made during World War II, which gives it an critical emotion response to audiences at the time. Many sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers most likely fought or served during the war and this fact is impossible to overlook. The wartime production of Destination Tokyo served the political front as well with many instances of stirring speeches, bravery, and American determination on full showcase. The U.S. Government and War Department blessed this film and its message of patriotism (or propaganda depending on your viewpoint). In the end, Destination Tokyo is a rousing and satisfying war film done during the height of fighting in the Pacific.
½ April 29, 2015
A WWII submarine crew sees it's share of action on it's way from San Francisco to Tokyo. Cary Grant is simply laughable as the sub captain and this film is all heroics and very little heart, but regardless it does have it's share of good-time war action fun.
December 19, 2014
Fictional submarine yarn coinciding with Doolittle's attack on Tokyo in WW II. Made during the peak of the war which inspired enlistment as well as other such movies. Cary Grant in relatively rare serious role.
December 15, 2014
Several propaganda phrases (Japs give knives to their children) today detract from this otherwise fine study of men within the pressure cooker of wartime experience.
May 24, 2014
Destination Tokyo was such a successful piece of wartime propaganda that it reportedly inspired Tony Curtis to volunteer for real-life submarine service. Despite the schmaltzy reminders of how wonderful Americans are (there are three pauses for prayer) and a few lectures on how evil the Japanese are (apparently their language has no word for romantic love), the film comes across as earnest and entertaining thanks to strong writing and direction from Delmer Davies and a great supporting cast filling out the usual mix of genial personalities in a wartime movie. Particularly good are John Garfield as the skirt-chasing tough guy and Robert Hutton as the green kid.
April 29, 2014
Decent WW2 submarine drama. Decent plot, not based on a true story itself but based around an actual historic event, the Doolittle Raid. The structure, commands and regimens of a submarine crew seem quite authentic and sometimes give it a documentary feel.

Can be a bit far-fetched at times though. Some episodes seem included just for glamour purposes, and, considering the movie was released in 1943, propaganda purposes.

Decent action sequences.

In keeping with the above point regarding propaganda, dialogue can also be overly bellicose and speech-like at times. Anything for a few war bonds...

Solid performance by Cary Grant in the lead role. Good support all round.
½ September 3, 2013
If you go, you go voluntarily. You might not come back.

An American submarine is sent into Tokyo Bay to scout for key destinations to bomb during an anticipated air raid. The crew is led by a captain on his last mission and the crew contains a bunch of young men barely ready for this caliber of mission. Can the Captain go out on top or will the Japanese discover the Americans and send them to the bottom of the ocean?

"I heard the Japs are happy to die for their emperor. A lot of them are going to be very happy."

Delmar Daves, director of An Affair to Remember, Dark Passage, Dames, 3:10 to Yuma (1957), Broken Arrow (1950), and a Kiss in the Dark, delivers Destination Tokyo in his directorial debut. The storyline for this picture is fairly interesting but does contain some of the cliché submarine conversations and feel. The acting is definitely first rate as the cast includes Cary Grant, John Garfield, Alan Hale, Dane Clarke, and William Prince.

"I got the record changer all hooked up."
"So I hear."

I DVR'd this picture because it starred the great Cary Grant. I found this film fairly straight forward with some intense bombing scenes. The dialogue and characters were not as dynamic as I had hoped and for the most part, this film is just okay. I only recommend going out of your way to see this if you are a fan of Cary Grant.

"You may all join me in a silent prayer."

Grade: C+/B- (6.75)
½ August 23, 2013
Tremendously well acted and exciting propaganda piece with some really effective underwater effects.
½ February 16, 2013
Excellent "sub" picture that stands out from the norm--A film that still floats well!!
Super Reviewer
April 23, 2008
As thick with outright propaganda as KFC chicken has grease, yet and still entertaining take on a submarine mission into enemy waters. It was made during wartime, yah, and nobody really knew yet which way the ball was bouncing, and so many "rah! rah!" scenes can be forgiven, as well as the many character caricatures. I had the thought while watching that the intended audience for this was not the men fighting the war - cause they already were doing that - but rather explicitly for the women anxiously waiting for the outcome. That thought added much to the entire film.
December 17, 2012
one of my favourite WWII movies made during WWII amazing cast that could have only happened during the studio system.
½ April 6, 2012
Super Reviewer
½ February 13, 2012
Even with Mr. Grant - campy and dull.
August 14, 2011
Destination Tokyo is an enjoyable film. It is about providing information for the first air raid over Tokyo, so a U.S. submarine sneaks into Tokyo Bay and places a spy team ashore. Cary Grant and John Garfield gives excellent performances. The screenplay is well written. Delmer Daves did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed this motion picture because of the adventure. Destination Tokyo is a must see.
Super Reviewer
November 9, 2006
This is the only WWII army film that Cary Grant ever made during the war. The film stars Cary Grant as a submarine Captain on a mission to get in to Tokyo harbour and survey weather conditions and get coordinates for their air force to bomb. The movie has that major anti Japanese attitude. Makes sense for the time this film was made. But overall it is a decent war film. Some interesting characters and scenes through out the film. Plus the film has some intense moments during battles and getting into Tokyo harbour. Not bad overall for a old black and white film. Top performances go to Grant and actor John Garfield in this. If you can get past some of the stereotypes and ignorant views of some of the soldiers in this it is a solid WWII film to check out. Worth a watch for war fans and Cary Grant fans.
½ April 18, 2005
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
I'm not crazy about this movie, but I am crazy about Grant. He gives a good performance, and the movie has some intense scenes, but overall it was kind of boring.
September 18, 2010
Good action scenes and some good dialogues, but it's boring in part and not very easy to follow.
April 3, 2010
79/100. Tense World War II propaganda film, with an impressive cast. John Garfield stands out, of course Cary Grant is always good. Alan Hale and Dane Clark are great in supporting roles. The Tokyo Bay scene is particularly exciting. Outstanding cinematography, the score is excellent and the writing was nominated for an Academy Award. Impressive special effects. It is a little long at 135 minutes, but it seldom is slow. Very well done and I am sure it helped rouse the American citizens spirits at the time.
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