Dear Sy Bartlett and Beirne Lay, Jr.,
Your 1949 film, Twelve O’Clock High, is as much a lesson in leadership as it is a testament to the trials of war and the fortitude of men. Davenport (Gary Merrill) and Savage (Gregory Peck) each show distinct styles which are appropriate in different settings. Unlike Davenport, who cares deeply for each of his men and strives to protect his subordinates, General Savage tries to remain aloof and detached. Savage’s method emphasizes the importance of establishing boundaries, encouraging each team member to play to his strengths, and leading by example. The tactic I admire most, though, is Savage’s desire to build pride and purpose within his team. In the film, he succeeds so well in doing so that even the paper pushers stow away to partake in missions. Set at the beginning of America’s effort to join WWII, Twelve O’Clock High encapsulated a strategy that would be employed by the United States in the monumental war effort for years to come.
Good night, Mun