The Bridges at Toko-Ri Reviews
Mark Robson directs his starry cast well. The ending is especially exciting, albeit getting there is rather dull. Rooney helps to keep it from getting too boring; and, he helps mend fences with the Japanese. Ms. Kelly punctuates the regal, top-o'-the-line production values; noticeably, she is barely around. Holden's portrayal is a little ambiguous, while Mr. March is very dutiful. March's character should know the answer to his question, "Where do we get such men?" since he has a front row seat.
Recently, I saw 'Toko-Ri' again for the first time in...yikes, more than 20 years, and I was pleased that not only does it still hold up pretty well, but as with other golden oldies like 'Kings Of The Sun' some aspects have gotten better with age.
True, it has dated in some ways, especially during the sequence with Harry Brubaker (William Holden) meets with his family in Japan early in the film. Some of the drama gets heavy-handed; some of the dialogue sounds too overwrought and unsubtle (in one scene, Fredric March comes across as the most insensitive and depressing bastard on Earth); and some of the delivery is unintentionally hilarious. My favourite example of the latter is when Grace Kelly - sigh - delivers the following line with incredible breathlessness: "OhHarryyoumusttellmeaboutthosebridges!"
Fortunately, though, most of those problems are confined to one small part of the film, and the rest of 'The Bridges At Toko-Ri' is compelling, funny, gripping and moving - especially at the end.
As I mentioned in my review of 'Kings Of The Sun', one of the unexpected benefits of today's CGI is that it truly makes you appreciate great cinematography and special effects from movies in days gone by. A lot of 'Toko-Ri' takes place on a real-life aircraft carrier, and just watching what it was like keeping a ship of that size running smoothly is absorbing in itself. As well, most of the time when we see jets and helicopters flying, they're actual jets and helicopters flying - and while the bridges at Toko-Ri are models, they're very impressive works of art.
In a different context to how Grace said it, it was good to see those bridges again :)
And yeah, gotta love them old jets :)