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Tora! Tora! Tora! [Blu-ray] 
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Tora Tora Tora - Artist: Martin Balsam
Here is just one of the many mishaps chronicled in Tora! Tora! Tora!: "Sir, there's a large formation of planes coming in from the north, 140 miles, 3 degrees east." "Yeah? Don't worry about it." The epic film shows the bombing of Pearl Harbour from both sides in the historic first American-Japanese coproduction: American director Richard Fleischer oversaw the complicated production (the Japanese sequences were directed by Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku, after Akira Kurosawa withdrew from the film), wrestling a sprawling story with dozens of characters into a manageable, fairly easy-to-follow film. The first half maps out the collapse of diplomacy between the nations and the military blunders that left naval and air forces sitting ducks for the impending attack, while the second half is an amazing re-creation of the devastating battle. While Tora! Tora! Tora! lacks the strong central characters that anchor the best war films, the real star of the film is the climactic 30-minute battle, a massive feat of cinematic engineering that expertly conveys the surprise, the chaos and the immense destruction of the only attack by a foreign power on American soil since the Revolutionary war. The special effects won a well-deserved Oscar, but the film was shut out of every other category by, ironically, the other epic war picture of the year, Patton. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Like Cleopatra, it was a troubled production: Akira Kurosawa worked on the Japanese side of the film for months but delivered only one brief scene in the finished film before being replaced by two more special effects friendly directors (Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku) while on the American side Richard Fleischer relied on Ray Kellog and Robert Enrietto to shoot much of the spectacular finale. To add to their woes, several politicians complained about the use of Naval and military personnel and the aircraft carrier Yorktown in the film, one even going so far as to try to get a change in the law to prevent filmmakers being allowed to use them in the future, with the studio having to take out adverts in newspapers during filming to reassure the public the film wasn't anti-American but a reminder of the need for constant vigilance. The critics weren't kind and, to cap it all, the film's losses led to studio head Richard D. Zanuck being fired by his own father Darryl F.Read more ›
What I will say is that this is an absolutely stunning Blu-Ray. If you want to count the individual rivets on the aircraft in the background of shot, or decide the quality of cotton used in a uniform, this is the edition for you. It is so crisp and detailed it is the closest thing to actually being on the set as they filmed it. I can't believe that sitting in a cinema with a virgin print on the first day of release you would have had a better picture.
I wish all Blu-Ray releases of classic war movies were like this one.
The sophistication of the presentation is truly wonderful, with psychological nuance in the doubts and bravado of Japanese power brokers and a comedy of errors on the American side. The portraits of the Japanese leaders are balanced, ignoring no complexity and studying their characters. The army has more of less taken control, pushing their diplomats into an ill-considered alliance with fascist Germany, which came to distort the image of a militarist/nationalist Japan into something much worse (and inaccurate). The emperor's family is weak, fantasy prone, and complicit, while the rank and file are convinced that their fighting spirit makes them superior to decadent Americans. Fascinatingly, it is the commanding admiral who wants to avoid the army-led war, though he dutifully prepares a daring attack on the US navy's principal base in the Pacific, PH.
On the American side, there are many complacent skeptics, but others who appear nearly prescient in their fears. Many small decisions are made - to place fighter aircraft in the center of the airfield to protect them from sabotage, but rendering them vulnerable to air attack - that add up to a total lack of preparedness. Some flacks even picked up the Japanese attack squadron on radar, which their immediate superiors blithely chose to ignore. Many US leaders sensed something was coming, but could not effectively mount a lasting defense.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good re-enactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Aerial scenes splendid. Special effects are good. Acting is excellent.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I remembed being told about this many years ago, but somehow missed out watching. It's OK, doesn't portray the Japanese as murderous monsters. Read morePublished 3 months ago by arjun sahgal