"Docudrama" about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 and its results, the recovering of the ships, the improving of defense in Hawaii and the US efforts to beat back the Japanese reinforcements.
In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, director Gregg Toland is tasked by producer John Ford, both now serving in the navy, to film a documentary about that infamous day. What Toland provided was an 82 minute documentary that featured not only the attack but focused heavily on the local Japanese population's supposedly large role as spies providing information to the homeland. Ford took over the direction of the film and the military eventually released a 34 minute version focusing on the attack. The longer version features Uncle Sam telling the audience how naive America was before Pearl Harbor with recreations of Japanese people collecting information in preparation for the attack.Written by
Other reasons this film was cut to 32 minutes was that it asked embarrassing questions about the military's preparedness - the lack of long-range reconnaissance flights and air patrols, for instance, which were considered damaging to the moral of the country, and it had a segment dealing with the Japanese-American population in Hawaii and how they responded to and were affected by the attack - at a time when Japanese-Americans were being evacuated and interred on the west coast of the USA. See more »
Showing the events of the Sunday morning attack, the priest at Mass (at Kaneohe, I believe) announces incorrectly that it is the 1st Sunday of Advent. Actually it was the 2nd Sunday of Advent. See more »
"You know that I know that you know that this is an attack by Japan."
Docudrama about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, that led to the US entering World War II. The version I have seen twice now on TCM is the unedited 82-minute version. The shorter version, which runs 34 minutes, is the one that won the Oscar for short subject documentary. The first part of the film is amusingly corny. Uncle Sam (Walter Huston) is vacationing in Hawaii, where he is interrupted by his conscience (Harry Davenport) the day before the attack. They discuss the history of Hawaii, the loyalty of Japanese-Americans, and America's complacency. From there we have the Pearl Harbor attack and the entry into the war. These scenes are a combination of stock footage and recreations shot by famed cinematographer Gregg Toland. It's not hard to differentiate between the two. Dana Andrews plays the ghost of a sailor who died at Pearl Harbor and Paul Hurst plays the ghost of a soldier who died in WWI. The credit for this film seems to go to John Ford, although it appears all he may have done is edit down Gregg Toland's longer version. I haven't read up on the film's history so I can't say for sure. I will say that very little about this screamed John Ford to me, stylistically speaking. Like I said, it's corny and maybe a little offensive if you want it to be, but I found it pretty fascinating. It's a nice window into the mindsets of Americans at the time and how they felt about these issues and events. The attack itself is excitingly recreated. WWII buffs should find a lot to chew on here. Everybody else, how you'll feel about it likely depends on the baggage you bring with you. Some will like it, some will hate it, and some will like to hate it. Hopefully most of you will find it interesting and your blood pressure will be unaffected.
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