“30 Seconds Over Tokyo” Didn’t Have To Use Special Effects For Scene
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30 Seconds Over Tokyo And The Doolittle Raid
30 Seconds Over Tokyo is high up there on the list of great WWII movies. It tells the take of the Doolittle Raid, the mind-blowingly risky mission to transport B-25 Mitchell bombers on carriers as close to Japan as possible and then launch them for a Pearl Harbor revenge attack over Tokyo.
The 1944 film was praised for its realistic depiction of the raid. They may not have had an aircraft carrier to film (The USS Hornet, recently found, had been sunk six months after the raid), but it certainly helped that they had actual footage from the event and a slew of operational USAAF B-25C and -D bombers.
In one scene though, they had some accidental effects that they were able to incorporate into the movie.
As Lawson approaches and enters the airspace over Tokyo (filmed in Oakland, California), the crew spots a cloud of billowing black smoke. In the film, Lawson credits the smoke as being the work of the Davy Jones, the bomber just ahead.
But the smoke was just a lucky chance that the film crew took advantage of. Not part of the script at all, it came from a fuel-oil fire in Oakland. We have to say that the cast and crew did a great job capturing the moment! Plus, it’s always exciting to find out that in addition to real war footage, real life events can also make their way into a cinematic piece of history.
Check it out below!