The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)

1.5rating2 (1.5/5) drama, war
My TiVo has learned that I’m a classic movie fan. It recently recorded The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954) as a suggestion for me off the Turner Classic Movie channel. I decided to watch it on the strength of William Holden’s excellent prior performances in Stalag 17 (1953), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Sabrina (1954) and Wild Bunch (1969) – but despite his part in Sunset Boulevard, a well regarded classic movie that I did not like.

In The Bridges at Toko-Ri, William Holden plays a lawyer-turned-naval-fighter-pilot in the Korean war, reluctant to fly an important mission.

He is married to the incomparable Grace Kelly (best in Too Catch a Thief (1955),  Rear Window (1954) and Dial M for Murder (1954)). Kelly is certainly one of the most beautiful actresses that ‘graced’ the silver screen. She was in her prime in 1954. Her best movies (this not being one of them) were all made in 1954 and 1955.

Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954) Jets TAking off from USS Oriskany

Interestingly the movie was filmed on location in 1952 Kanagawa, Japan and aboard the USS Oriskany and her sister ship U.S.S. Kearsarge, Essex-class aircraft carriers. Observing snippets of actual historical settings is one of the reasons I enjoy classic movies.

It is obvious that Top Gun’s director, Tony Scott, was influenced by this movie, as some of the scenes of the navy jets taking off from the aircraft carrier and while flying missions, are almost identical to scenes filmed 43 years later in Top Gun.

Despite the star power of Holden and Kelly, and supporting roles by powerhouses Frederic March and Mickey Rooney, there is little to recommend in this movie aside from a reasonably realistic look at 1952 naval combat and life aboard an aircraft carrier of that era.

Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954) Jets prepping for takeoff from USS Oriskany

The movie, shot in technicolor, has good production values (winning the special affects Oscar) but is otherwise slow and plodding. There isn’t much of a story. Nothing much happens during its 1 hour and 45 minute run time. I cannot recommend this movie.

Reference: imdb6 | wikipedia12
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