View Full Version : Filming the movie '12 O'Clock High'

General Savage
30th November 2007, 23:43
You guys remember that part of the movie when the B-17 crash lands through those tents?

This was especially carried out for this movie and was actually used in other movies as well.
This B-17 belly landing was done by Paul Mantz. (There is a whole legend behind Mantz's solo B-17 flight and crash landing.) Mantz also provided his B-25H, NX1203, for a cameraship for some of the aerial scenes. There are several published accounts of how the film was made.

Principal filming was conducted at Duke Field (Elgin Auxilliary Field #3), Florida, and Ozark AAF, Alabama (now within Fort Rucker) in May and June 1949. Duke Field held the 918th Bomb Group sets while the operational aircraft scenes were shot at Ozark.

Paul Mantz, flying solo, belly landed an ex-drone B-17G at Ozark AAF for a $2,500 fee.

Reportedly, Mantz had a steel rod welded across the throttles so he could quickly cut them on landing, a report that is probably some publicist's idea of a good story. The B-17 throttle arrangement made such a modification unnecessary, and would have made starting the four engines quite difficult. Mantz would have no trouble moving the four throttles in unison without any modification.

Much was made of Mantz flying the B-17 solo, but that was not so uncommon. Many combat aircraft had limped back to England with only one pilot at the controls; noted pilot Robert Scott had flown a B-17 solo as documented in his book God Is My Copilot; a competent B-17 pilot could fly the airplane solo without difficulty with a little bit of planning.

Mark E Horan
2nd January 2008, 23:35
"So, did you hid anything up there, Harvey?"

"Well, sir, my glasses were frosted up some; but I think I got a piece of one!"

"Our's or their's?"

A true classic ...! :)

5th January 2008, 04:10
Following the crash-landing of that B-17 is a scene where the crew exits the plane, shocked and dazed. Their ordeal, as described in the movie, is based on the real events that led to John C. "Red" Morgan of the 92nd BG being awarded the Medal of Honor. A good book about the novel, the movie, and the TV series is The 12 O'Clock High Logbook by Allan T. Duffin adn Paul Matheis.

10th March 2008, 04:27

New member here. I live in Irvine, California, U.S.A. and volunteer on Saturdays at teh Planes of Fame Museum. We are currently restoring a B-17.

You may remember it from the film "12 O-Clock High" as General Savage's "Picadilly Lilly." Yep, our B-17 is the one from the film and it is currently in Chino, Caliifornia.

If you are in the area (or not) please come around and see it at the Planes of Fame Museum. Many of our WWII and later aircraft fly regularly, and it we get the B-17 back in shape, it will, too.


13th June 2008, 18:05
Some of the combat footage of the film was taken from USAF footage. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences maintained a kind of stock-footage library that supplies action shots to the studios. We pulled some of the same footage from the National Archives and used it in the training film spoof "Military Intelligence And You!"

Check out the trailer at...www.militaryintelligenceandyou.com