Film Review of The Bridges at Tokori: All is Fair in Love and Foul in War
Love and war leave scars. Putting things in perspective and seeking other options may alleviate the disappointment of unhappy love affairs. They will not help an officer who dreads his job and misses his family in the film “The Bridges of Toko-ri”.
Love breaks hearts when war breaks bodies in The Bridges at Toko-ri by writer Valentine Davies; producers William Perlberg and George Seaton; and director Mark Robson. Lloyd Griggs, Alma Macrorie, and Lyn Murray handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases Japan.
The 102-minute film adapts James Michener’s (1907-1997) same-named novel. Paramount Pictures premiered the film on January 20, 1955 in LA and NYC and on January 21, 1955 in Denver. It was Oscar-nominated for Best Film Editing. It won Best Visual Effects.
The movie begins with U.S. Navy task force 77 off Korea. Two helicopters rescue two ship #34 men. Lieutenant Harry Brubaker (William Holden) returns with leprechaun-hatted pilot Mike Forney (Mickey Rooney).
Harry’s father-in-law, a former Massachusetts senator, arranges a three-day visitation. Governess Setsuko (Chise Freeman) attends Harry’s children. Denver lawyer Harry bewails his assignments to Korea and – previously – to Leyte, New Guinea, and Okinawa.
Nestor Gamidge (Earl Holliman) contacts Harry in Fuji-san. Mike is in Tokyo’s jail 60 miles/96.56 kilometers away for fighting ex-girlfriend Kimiko’s (Keiko Awaji) Essex boatswain fiancé. Harry pays $80 for Mike’s release. Mike pummels Kimiko’s fiancé. He rips Kimiko’s dress.
Harry’s wife Nancy (Grace Kelly) dines with Rear Admiral George Tarrant (Fredric March). Tarrant excoriates wives who avoid battle news and casualty lists. After his death in Midway, son George’s widow experiments with promiscuity and suicide. After his other son’s death by Japanese carrier torpedoes, Tarrant institutionalizes wife Margaret, who knits baby sweaters.
Harry and Nancy anticipate daughters Cathy (Nadine Ashdown) and Susie (Cheryl Callaway) taking piano lessons. All four bathe nude in the hotel’s hot springs. The room is reserved for one family at a time. It temporarily nonplusses them when Keiko (Ayame Ikeda), Takako (Teru Shimada), and two daughters (Sharon Munemura, Claudia Satow) claim the other pool.
Commander Wayne Lee (Charles McGraw) lands badly on the carrier deck after photo missions beyond Yong-dok. Harry lands despite empty fuel tanks and non-repairable barricades. Catapult sounds make Harry write Nancy two shaky letters.
In the morning, 12 pilots bomb Toko-ri’s three bridges. Harry crash-lands near Wonsai Harbor-area irrigation ditches about 25 miles/40.23 kilometers from Yodo Island after getting hit at the secondary target, Tok-tong’s fuel dump. Soldiers kill Nestor when he lands the rescue helicopter. Grenades kill Mike after Wayne’s four rescue planes – low on ammo – leave. Four soldiers kill Harry after he falls from left thigh wounds.
The movie ends with Tarrant exonerating Wayne, praising deck-landing pilots, and thinking about writing Nancy.
Copyright: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 by Derdriu.