Desperate Journey (1942)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Errol Flynn are the on-screen spark plugs in this bracing propaganda yarn, which relies on the personalities of its casts as well as the lively direction of Raoul Walsh to overcome the improbabilities of its plot. In 1942, a lone RAF bomber flying deep into Germany (just inside the old Polish border) is shot down after completing its mission. The skipper is killed, and left in command is Flight Lieutenant Terry Forbes (Errol Flynn), an Australian who plans on leaving damage behind on the ground so the Germans remember him, even if he doesn't make it back to England. The rest of the crew consists of brash American bombardier Johnny Hammond (Ronald Reagan), bookish Canadian navigator Jed Forrest (Arthur Kennedy), wide-eyed Flight Sergeant Lloyd Hollis (Ronald Sinclair), the son of a World War I hero, and First World War veteran Kirk Edwards (Alan Hale, Sr.). They're captured in short order, and brought before Luftwaffe Major Otto Baumeister (Raymond Massey) for interrogation -- they not only manage to escape, but gather some information vital to the Allied war effort. Now they only have to figure out how to cross most of Germany and Holland, avoiding capture along the way by a mix of sheer daring, blind luck, and assistance from two anti-Nazi Germans (Nancy Coleman, Albert Bassermann) -- and just when it seems that all of the odds have turned against them, they find themselves faced with a German plot to wipe out a major part of London, and one last opportunity to get home.
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Bros. Pictures

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Errol Flynn
as Flight Lt. Terrence Forbes
Ronald Reagan
as Flying Officer Johnny Hammond
Raymond Massey
as Maj. Otto Baumeister
Nancy Coleman
as Kaethe Brahms
Alan Hale
as Flight Sgt. Kirk Edwards
Pat O'Moore
as Squadron Leader Lane Ferris
Arthur Kennedy
as Flying Officer Jed Forrest
Sig Rumann
as Preuss
Patrick O'Moore
as Squadron Leader Lane-Ferris
Ronald Sinclair
as Flight Sgt. Lloyd Hollis
Louis V. Arco
as Feldwebel Gertz
Charles Irwin
as Capt. Coswick
Richard Fraser
as S/L Clark
Lester Matthews
as Wing Commander
Walter Brooke
as Flight Sgt. Warwick
Harry Lewis
as Evans
Don Phillips
as Kenton
Albert Basserman
as Dr. Mather
Felix Basch
as Dr. Herman Brahms
Ilka Gruning
as Frau Brahms
Elsa Basserman
as Frau Raeder
Henry Victor
as Heinrich Schwartzmuller
Bruce Lester
as Assistant Plotting Officer
Kurt Katch
as Hesse
Helmut Dantine
as German Copilot
Barry Bernard
as Squadron Commander
William Hopper
as Aircraftsman
Douglas Walton
as British Officer
Harold Daniels
as German Soldier
Henry Rowland
as Motorcycle Scout
Walter Bonn
as Sentry
Frank Alten
as Lieutenant
Arno Frey
as Pvt. Trecha
Robert R. Stephenson
as Gestapo Agent
Sigfrid Tor
as Pvt. Rasek
Gene Garrick
as Polish Boy
Hans Schumm
as Gestapo Agent
Robert Stephenson
as Gestapo Agent
Carl Ekberg
as Telephone Repairman
Lester Sharpe
as Driver
Ludwig Hardt
as Pharmacist
Jack Lomas
as Magnus
Sven Hugo Borg
as Mechanic
Roland Varno
as Unteroffizier
Otto Reichow
as Pvt. Koenig
Rolf Lindau
as Sergeant
Bruce Lister
as English Officer
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Desperate Journey

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (2)

Aside from some expendable propaganda heroics, rousingly handled by Walsh.

January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Instinctive existentialism of a very high order, and a very entertaining adventure (1942).

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A rousing Hollywood propaganda World War II adventure film.

Full Review… | June 26, 2015
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Lively adventure.

Full Review… | January 31, 2010
Classic Film and Television

Desperate Journey was viewed at the time of its release as a ludicrous, comic-strip war adventure. That view has only been strengthened over the years.

Full Review… | June 13, 2008
TV Guide

Walsh's desperately daft flagwaver often lets propagandizing get the better of its smooth running.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

Audience Reviews for Desperate Journey

A very entertaining romp through Nazi Germany with a downed squad of Allied bombers, as they make their escape to England. Errol Flynn was the star but despite a good performance, I gotta hand this one to his cohorts Arthur Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

Vincent Hannam
Vincent Hannam

The only thing "Desperate" is trying to get through this one. All too comic too many times to be any good as a war drama. SEE a clip from the film here and don't say I didn't warn you: Fast paced and pretty light-hearted drama, as downed British flight crew gets shot down inside Germany and tries to get back home. All in all this is a really far fetched escape attempt from far behind the German lines. [img][/img] Ronald Regan comes off as a wise-cracking crewman, giving comic relief everytime the crew is in trouble. Its entirely out of place in the movie of course as the Germans are made to be a bunch of nimrods. Adam Hale similarly is given a lot of throw away lines trying to be comic. He comes off like an early version of Sgt. Schultz in Hogan's Heroes. [img][/img] The crew just captured. The bomber being shot down had pretty realistic effects for the time. [img][/img] The crew shown here wears German uniforms to escape Germany Mostly this is a largely forgettable film with no credibility to be a great war film. This movie has not the cast or acting at fault, it's the writing and plot which is so lamentable. Watch at your own peril. [img][/img] Reviews by fellow RT folk: 1 50% I usually enjoy watching WWII propaganda films. At times they can be very entertaining despite the film's blatant proselytizing 2 100% well thought about movie. one of his best films .... [img][/img] NOTES: 1 In this, one of many World War II propaganda films of the early 1940s, Errol Flynn is one of five RAF pilots to survive a crash-landing in occupied Poland. Carrying deep dark secret information they are relentlessly chased by the Germans. 2 This film went on to gross $2 million for Warners Bros., the third Flynn film of that year to reach that coveted mark, according to Variety. Cast Errol Flynn as Flight Lt. Terrence Forbes Ronald Reagan as Flying Officer Johnny Hammond Nancy Coleman as Kaethe Brahms Raymond Massey as Major Otto Baumeister Alan Hale as Flight Sgt. Kirk Edwards Arthur Kennedy as Flying Officer Jed Forrest Ronald Sinclair as Flight Sgt. Lloyd Hollis II Directed by Raoul Walsh Produced by Hal B. Wallis Written by Arthur T. Horman Music by Max Steiner Cinematography Bert Glennon Editing by Rudi Fehr Distributed by Warner Bros. Release date(s) September 25, 1942 Running time 107 min. [img][/img]

monsieur rick
monsieur rick

The iron fist has a glass jaw A group of British bombers flying across Germany during World War I are shot down behind enemy lines. Initially, they are captured, but they quickly escape the prison and hope to journey back to their base. How can the British survive within the German's hornet nest? "There is no food left in Germany. I even met a rat in a closet eating his own heart out." Raoul Walsh, director of White Heat, Cheyenne, High Sierra, The Roaring Twenties, Objective Burma, When Thief meets Thief, and Big Brown Eyes, delivers The Desperate Journey. The storyline for this picture is very interesting and reminded me of Inglorious Bastards. The plot is interesting and the characters were dynamic. The cast delivers excellent performances and includes Errol Flynn, Ronald Reagan, Nancy Coleman, Ronald Sinclair, and Arthur Kennedy. "What is that?" "It looks like a shadow." The Desperate Journey grabbed our attention as we scrolled through Errol Flynn pictures and discovered it also had Ronald Reagan. I will say Reagan definitely displayed charisma and charm in this picture and worked very well with Flynn. The film is fun to watch unfold; and while not my favorite Flynn movie, it was definitely worth my time. "A prison camp can be most annoying." Grade: B+

Kevin Robbins
Kevin Robbins

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