AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Destination Tokyo
Director: Delmer Daves (Dir)
Release Date:   1 Jan 1944
Premiere Information:   World premiere in Pittsburgh: 15 Dec 1943
Production Date:   21 Jun--4 Sep 1943
Duration (in mins):   131 or 135
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Cast:   Cary Grant (Captain Cassidy)  
    John Garfield (Wolf)  
    Alan Hale (Cookie)  
    John Ridgely (Reserve officer Raymond)  
    Dane Clark (Tin Can)  
    Warner Anderson (Executive officer)  
    William Prince (Pills)  
    Robert Hutton (Tommy Adams)  
    Tom Tully (Mike)  
    Faye Emerson (Mrs. Cassidy)  
    Peter Whitney (Dakota)  
    Warren Douglas (Diving officer)  
    John Forsythe (Reynolds ("Sparks"))  
    John Alvin (Sound man)  
    Bill Kennedy (Gunnery officer)  
    Ralph McColm (Ensign)  
    William Challee (Quartermaster)  
    Whit Bissell (YoYo)  
    Stephen Richards (Admiral's aide)  
    Jack Mower (Admiral's aide)  
    John Whitney (Communications officer)  
    George Lloyd (Chief of boat)  
    Maurice Murphy (Toscanini)  
    Joy Barlowe (Wolf's girl)  
    Bill Hunter (Market St. "commando")  
    Hugh Prosser (Pilot)  
    Frank Tang (Japanese pilot)  
    Angel Cruz (Japanese bombardier)  
    Pierre Watkin (Admiral)  
    Cliff Clark (Admiral on "Hornet")  
    Charles Thompson (Rear admiral)  
    Russ Whiteman (First class yeoman)  
    Tony Hughes (Navy air officer)  
    Deborah Daves (Debby Cassidy)  
    Michael Daves (Michael Cassidy)  
    Bob Lowell (Radio operator)  
    George Anderson (Officer)  
    Roland Got (Japanese officer)  
    Carlyle Blackwell (Man on phone)  
    Mary Landa (Tin Can's girl)  
    Dorothy Schoemer (Saleslady)  
    Kirby Grant (Captain)  
    Herbert Gunn (Lieutenant)  
    Warren Ashe (Major)  
    Lane Chandler (C.P.O.)  
    Lou Marcelle (Narrator)  
    Eddie Lee (Japanese man at listening post)  
    Wing Foo (Japanese man at listening post)  
    Ya Sing Sung (Japanese man on beach)  
    George Lee (Japanese man on beach)  
    Jimmy Evans (Crew member)  
    Dan Borzage (Crew member)  
    Bernie Sell (Crew member)  
    Paul Parry (Crew member)  
    Sailor Vincent (Crew member)  
    Charles Sherlock (Crew member)  
    Warren Cross (Crew member)  
    Wally Walker (Crew member)  
    William Hudson (Crew member)  
    Charles Sullivan (Crew member)  
    George W. Robotham (Crew member)  
    Cy Malis (Crew member)  
    Bob Creasman (Crew member)  
    John Sylvester (Crew member)  
    Duke York (Crew member)  
    Ted Jacques (Crew member)  
    Harry Bartell (Crew member)  
    Jay Ward (Crew member)  
    John Forrest (Crew member)  
    Paul Langton (Crew member)  
    Alan Wilson (Crew member)  
    Benson Fong (Japanese)  
    James B. Leong (Japanese)  
    Bruce Wong (Japanese)  

Summary: On Christmas Eve, the submarine U.S.S. Copperfin leaves San Francisco Bay under sealed orders. Christmas morning, the crew, which includes Tommy Adams, a new recruit; Tin Can, a Greek American who fervently hates the Nazis; Wolf, who is always talking about his female conquests; Pills, a former science student who is now the medical officer; Mike, a quietly religious man; and Captain Cassidy, celebrates the holiday. After twenty-four hours at sea, Cassidy opens the orders, which direct him to proceed to Tokyo, by way of the Aleutian Islands. As the submarine approaches the Aleutians, a plane is spotted overhead. It is an American plane carrying Raymond, a meteorologist, who is traveling with the crew to Tokyo. Then two Japanese planes are spotted, and a battle ensues. Both planes are shot down, but the pilot of one of them parachutes to safety. When Mike tries to help him out of the water, the pilot stabs him to death and is killed in turn by Tommy. Because he was slow to shoot the pilot, Tommy blames himself for Mike's death and volunteers to defuse an unexploded bomb that has lodged under the boat's deck. After the bomb is successfully defused, the men bury Mike at sea. Tin Can does not attend the service, which infuriates the other men, but he explains that his favorite uncle, a philosopher, was killed by the Nazis, and every Allied death causes him great pain. As the submarine nears Tokyo Bay, Cassidy informs the men that the ship must negotiate the mine fields on the bay's perimeter. When a returning Japanese cruiser and two destroyers approach the bay, Cassidy decides to follow them into the bay and thus avoid the mines. That night, Wolf, Raymond and Sparks go ashore to make the observations necessary for a future air attack on Tokyo. While the men are away, Tommy is discovered to have a ruptured appendix, and Pills operates with the help of an instruction book and improvised scalpels. When the men on shore finish their observations, Raymond, who was reared in Tokyo, broadcasts their findings in Japanese. Despite this precaution, the Japanese decide to investigate the broadcast location, and the men narrowly escape discovery. Using the radioed information, the air attack on Tokyo begins, and the men of the Copperfin watch it through their periscope. After the attack, the submarine again slips through the mine fields by following a Japanese ship. The submarine's position is later revealed when the crew torpedoes a Japanese aircraft carrier. Other Japanese ships bomb the Copperfin , which is badly damaged. When the submarine is unable to evade the destroyer that is following it, Cassidy orders the men to attack. The destroyer is sunk, and the submarine heads back to San Francisco, where Cassidy's wife and children are waiting at the dock. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Brand Name: A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Delmer Daves (Dir)
  Art Lueker (Asst dir)
  Fred Scheld (2d asst dir)
Producer: Jack L. Warner (Exec prod)
  Jerry Wald (Prod)
Writer: Delmer Daves (Scr)
  Albert Maltz (Scr)
  Steve Fisher (Orig story)
Photography: Bert Glennon (Dir of photog)
  George Nogle (Cam op)
  Benny Cohan (Asst cam)
  Ed Henderson (Stills)
  Frank Flanagan (Gaffer)
Art Direction: Leo K. Kuter (Art dir)
  John Beckman (Asst art dir)
Film Editor: Chris Nyby (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Walter Tilford (Set dec)
  John More (Props)
Costumes: L. Roberts (Ward)
  Roe Ramsey (Ward)
Music: Leon Raab (Orch arr)
  Leo F. Forbstein (Mus dir)
  Franz Waxman (Mus)
Sound: Robert B. Lee (Sd)
Special Effects: James Leicester (Mont)
  Lawrence Butler (Spec eff dir)
  Willard Van Enger (Spec eff)
Make Up: Perc Westmore (Makeup artist)
Production Misc: Lt. Comdr. Phillip Compton (Tech adv)
  Chief Machinist's Mate Andy Lennox (Tech adv)
  Comdr. Dudley Walker Morton (Tech adv)
  Chuck Hansen (Unit mgr)
  Joe Cramer (Best boy)
  Owen Crompton (Grip)
  Florence O'Neill (Scr clerk)
  Ken Whitmore (Unit pub)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 1/1/1944 dd/mm/yyyy LP12406

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Drama
  Drama
Sub-Genre: Sea
  World War II
 
Subjects (Major): Pacific Ocean
  Submarine boats
  United States. Navy
  World War II
 
Subjects (Minor): Appendicitis
  Aleutian Islands (AK)
  Bombing, Aerial
  Bombings
  Burial
  Christmas
  Japan
  Operations, Surgical
  Practical jokes
  Radio broadcasting
  Religion
  San Francisco (CA)
  Sonar
  Tokyo (Japan)
  Tokyo Rose

Note: According to an article in NYHT , technical advisor Andy Lennox was a member of the crew of the submarine Wahoo , whose skipper, Lieutenant Commander Dudley Walker Morton, also offered advice to the filmmakers. After the picture's production, the Wahoo was reported missing in action. The emergency appendectomy performed by "Pills" in the film was inspired by an actual 1942 incident aboard the submarine Seadragon , in which pharmacist's mate W. B. Lipes successfully removed the appendex of seaman Darrell Dean Rector. As in the film, the real operation took place while the vessel was submerged, and was performed by Lipes at the urging of his officers, who felt that Lipes, who had observed appendectomies, was the best person to operate. According to a 19 Apr 2005 LAT obituary of Lipes, he used a strainer and other kitchen equipment to perform the surgery, the first reported operation in a submerged submarine.
       Key members of the cast spent time at the submarine base at the Mare Island Navy Yard in San Francisco Bay in order to become familiar with submarine operations. The Copperfin was designed to be an accurate scale model of a working submarine, but in order to confuse the enemy, the equipment and operating apparatus were a mixture of those found on all types of American submarines. A 26 Jul 1943 HR news item notes that some scenes were filmed on location in Portuguese Bend near Redondo Beach, CA.
       Cary Grant was borrowed from Columbia for this film. A 3 Dec 1943 HR news item notes that the film's world premiere, which was held in Pittsburgh, benefitted crippled children. According to a press release included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, "Cassidy's" children were played by director Delmer Daves's children, Michael and Deborah. Steve Fisher received an Academy Award nomination for his original story. Modern sources note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt requested that this film make no reference to radar or military electronics.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   25 Dec 1943.   
Daily Variety   21 Dec 43   p. 3.
Film Daily   21 Dec 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Jun 43   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Jul 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Jul 43   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Dec 43   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Dec 43   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Jan 44   p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald   25 Dec 1943.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   25 Dec 43   p. 1685.
New York Herald Tribune   2 Jan 1944.   
New York Times   1 Jan 44   p. 3.
Variety   22 Dec 43   p. 12.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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