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Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

Tora! Tora! Tora!. Feature film. (1970, 144 mins) IMDB

...Get a sense of what it might have been like on the day the Japanse attacked Pearl Harbour...

T

ora! Tora! Tora! was the code word the Japanese military used for its attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941. When the bomber and fighter pilots heard those words, they knew the attack was a go.

The film shows the events leading up to the attack from both the US and Japanese point of view. Unlike a lot of WWII movies, the Japanese military men speak their native language instead of Hollywood English. I prefer that approach even if the white subtitles are sometimes washing out because the background is white. White on white doesn't work.

There are no stars in this film because the focus shifts from one of many characters and the focus is mainly on the mandarins in Washington and Tokyo or the generals and admirals. We never connect with a private on the ground or a seaman on a ship unlike a lot of war movies. In that sense, the film is more a documentary made with professional actors and very large budget than a feature film. Yet I enjoyed it. I was intrigued by the bureaucratic bungling and diplomatic talks. The battle sequences were believable and filled with real explosions--not CGI smoke and flames.

The film doesn't address the revisionist history of the event. Did FDR know the attack was coming? Did anyone else know? Could it have been avoided?

Posted 2009/03/27 at 20h05ET in Movie Commentary.

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