Next week, we will watch a movie about leadership and organizational challenges.

Today, we will frame the movie in terms of what we will have discussed this semester.

The movie 12 O'Clock High is fiction, but only barely.

This movie, Memphis Belle, is factual, and the personnel in this movie are doing exactly the same things as are many of the characters in 12 O'Clock High.

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Why this movie?

Elmer Bendiner's Fall of Fortresses

Twelve O'Clock High is a 1949 American film about aircrews in the United States Army's Eighth Air Force who flew daylight bombing missions against Nazi Germany and occupied France during the early days of American involvement in World War II, including a thinly disguised version of the notorious Black Thursday strike against Schweinfurt. The film was adapted by Sy Bartlett, Henry King, and Beirne Lay, Jr. from the 1948 novel 12 O'Clock High, also by Bartlett and Lay.

This film was nominated for four Academy Awards and won two. In 1998, Twelve O'Clock High was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".

You might find Elmer Bendiner's The Fall of Fortresses a different view of the context of the movie. Bendiner was a navigator who flew in the planes in the movie and survived the missions to Schweinfurt.

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You don't have to read these unless you wish to, but we might touch upon them in conversation

Things to think about

Some background to the movie may be of interest.

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Today will be preparations for the subsequent two sessions

  • we will frame the story
  • identify the organizational realities being depicted
  • and explain the symbology that helps identify roles and functions of the characters you will see
slides for session 20

As you watch the movie ...

  • watch how the characters interact with each other
  • sense the organizational imperatives at work in this story
  • is every character just being himself, or are some of them knowingly playing a role?
  • could you see yourself in this situation? If so, who might you think you would be?

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something to take away

Past, present, and future

Past - Gene Krupa
In the PBS television series about the history of jazz music, it was mentioned that a 1938 concert in Carnegie Hall was the big breakthrough for jazz music into the American mainstream. But at the start of the concert, things were dragging and not looking good. Gene Krupa couldn't stand it and burst forth with a solo on his drums, a solo that no one had expected. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, At a groundbreaking Benny Goodman concert in Carnegie Hall on January 16, 1938, Krupa’s sensational driving beat behind “Sing Sing Sing” ... defined him as the very model of a modern drummer.
Present - Bernard Purdie
... this prolific studio player grew up in Maryland before moving to New York in the early 1960s where he got his start doing sessions with jazz artists like Nina Simone and Gabor Szabo. Known for his intricate hi-hat "ghost notes," Purdue soon became one of the most in-demand drummers in the entire industry, serving as Aretha Franklin's musical director for several years when he wasn't busy recording with everyone from Steely Dan to Mongo Santamaria to Bob Marley. The question isn't who Pretty Purdie played with; it's who he hasn't.
Future - Yokoma Soma
Eight-year-old Yoyoka Soma's favorite drummer is John Bonham, so for her entry into the 2018 Hit Like A Girl drum contest, she covered Bonham's part on Led Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times." ... She absolutely smashes through the song with three foot pedals and polka dot socks putting in bass work. She's even got the facials and head banging down. And the dampening of the cymbal is a detail only a tenured drummer like herself could add.

But even more relevant to the future

This is a 12 year old Spanish girl, singing in the competition for the Spanish entry to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. This is both an operatic voice and a call from the future to those of us in the present.

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