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DESTINATION TOKYO ($20) is a solid WWII war drama set onboard a US Navy submarine. Of course, since this Hollywood studio production was made during the war years, DESTINATION TOKYO proves to be somewhat typical in its need to serve the purposes of propaganda, in addition to its main goal of entertaining the audiences back home. To this end, there is a good deal of flag waving in the film, not to mention humor and sentiment, which helps to balance things out.

Cary Grant stars in DESTINATION TOKYO as Captain Cassidy, the commander of a submarine undertaking a secret resonance mission to Tokyo- one which will pave the way to an American air attack on the island of Japan. The shipís crew features a number of colorful characters, who have a relatively short time to connect with the audience before the movie goes into full action mode, with the submarine evading enemy ships during a tense underwater sequence, where depth charges rain down on the sub. The cast of DESTINATION TOKYO also features John Garfield, Alan Hale, John Ridgely, Dane Clark, Warner Anderson, William Prince, Robert Hutton, Tom Tully, Faye Emerson, Peter Whitney, Warren Douglas and John Forsythe.

Warner Home Video has made DESTINATION TOKYO available on DVD in its proper 1.37:1 full screen aspect ratio. For the most part, this is a very good transfer of a vintage black and white film. The film elements themselves do exhibit some problems, as they have not been digitally rejuvenated on a frame-by-frame basis. Minor blemishes pop up with some frequency, and while not particularly bothersome (except for a scratch or two), a bit of digital cleaning would have been most welcome. Some of the battle sequence stock footage is a little rough, but Iím sure it never looked all that good to begin with. The image itself appears sharp and provides good definition. Blacks are accurately rendered, as are the whites, plus the picture feature a generally good grayscale and sense of depth. Contrast is usually very good, although it can come up short in shots containing rear screen projection. A grain structure is noticeable from time to time, but is never excessive. Digital compression artifacts maintain a low profile.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is just fine for a film that is over sixty years old, as most instances of background hiss and surface noise have been scrubbed away during the mastering process. As expected, fidelity is a bit lacking, but the sound effects do manage to hold their own, plus the filmís music is never harsh or distorted and average listening levels. Dialogue is always completely understandable and the voices come across effectively. No other language tracks are provided, but English, French and Spanish subtitles have been included.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. The Gem Of The Ocean is a two reel musical short that seems to have been included on this DVD because of its nautical theme. Filling out the extras is a Cary Grant Theatrical Trailer Gallery featuring BRINGING UP BABY, GUNGA DIN, MY FAVORITE WIFE, THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, DESTINATION TOKYO, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, NIGHT AND DAY, THE BACHELOR AND THE BOBBY-SOXER, MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE and NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

With Cary Grant as its star, DESTINATION TOKYO is an enjoyable wartime motion picture experience. Warnerís DVD offers a pretty solid presentation of this vintage film that will give movie buffs little to complain about. If you are a Cary Grant fan, youíll definitely want to check out DESTINATION TOKYO.



Destination Tokyo (1943)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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