Command Decision is a literate war drama, presented with a class touch. It tells of the Second World War from the top level of heavy brass, but with a slant that makes the star-wearers human. There’s no romance, and none is needed.
In transferring the Broadway legit hit [by William Wister Haines] to the screen, producer Sidney Franklin [‘in association with Gottfried Reinhardt’] and director Sam Wood have made it a faithful version. It’s still laid, principally, in the GHQ of a bomber command and little attempt is made to broaden that essential locale. Where it gets its added sweep is in the lucid music score (which bows only to the bomber’s roar) and in the graphic lensing that gives the story a movement not possible on stage.
Clark Gable walks off with a picture in which everyone of the cast stands out. His is a believable delivery, interpreting the brigadier-general who must send his men out to almost certain death with an understanding that bespeaks his sympathy with the soldier – brass or dogface.
Walter Pidgeon is the real big brass – the trafficker with politicos, wheedling and conniving to keep his Air Force supplied with planes and men despite homefront cries against losses.