Monday, February 4, 2013

1970 - TORA TORA TORA, on Blu Ray

Darryl F. Zanuck wanted to do for the Pearl Harbor attack what he had done with The Longest Day, dramatize a true life war story on a large scale.  This attempt fell short for a number of reasons.

Zanuck had originally hoped to have Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa film the Japanese sequences and integrate them with footage filmed by an American director.  For various reasons Kurosawa did not get along with the American producers assigned by Zanuck and 20th Century Fox was unwilling to give Kurosawa the complete artistic control he was used to.  In the end Zanuck settled for studio director Richard Fleischer to finish the project.  The end result was a film with a lot of talking heads and one large scale battle sequence

Dramatically if you are an American the film is kind of a bummer to watch.  The events leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack make the United States military look like a bunch of incompetent boobs considering the intelligence they had before the attack.  This hardly makes the film your typical inspirational war epic.

Tora Tora Tora is at times kind of pedestrian and somewhat incompetent film making considering the huge budget the film had.  Most notably the white subtitles on white backgrounds make the subtitles for the Japanese sequences impossible to read much less understand.

The large scale battle sequence at the end is impressive since Tora Tora Tora was filmed before the dawn of computer image effects.  Obviously the battleships are models but the airplane sequences are the real deal with the actual planes flying low and lots of stuff blowing up.

144 minutes.

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