The celluloid version of the tragic events which followed the capture of eight of the American flyers who bombed Tokyo is an intensely moving piece, spellbinding though gory at times, gripping and suspenseful for the most part. Scenes depicting, by inference, the tortures which the American boys were subjected to, strike home with terrific impact. About a dozen individual performances are outstanding, with acting honors being shared fairly evenly among all the principals in the drama.
Under Darryl Zanuck’s production guidance and Lewis Milestone’s deft direction, Jerome Cady’s script emerges as taut, swift-paced fare.
The story is about eight captured American flyers on trial before a Jap civil court on a murder rap, charged with purposely bombing and machine-gunning Jap civilians. Protests by Lt Wayne Greenbaum (Sam Levene) that civil courts have no jurisdiction over military prisoners and that the proceedings constitute a violation of the Geneva Convention are ignored. Action takes place mainly in the Jap courtroom, with war correspondents from Axis nations only admitted.