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TKB

Tora Tora Tora

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Just curious as to other's opinions as to why Tora! Tora! Tora! seems to have always gotten trash reviews?

Being it is as historically correct as you can get, is that the problem --- not entertaining enough? While the more recent Pearl Harbor might be entertaining, that's all it is! There's little based on fact, and even then it's a looooong stretch of the truth.

Given when it was made in 1969, the amount of effort that was put into making Tora! Tora! Tora! was huge. Without CGI at thier disposal, 99% of what appears on film were real three dimensional objects, created for the film. Check out the Internet, there are several "making of the movie" sites, but Tora! Tora! Tora! - The making of the movie - American Production gives the most detailed insight.

Being Tora! Tora! Tora! was a box office disappointment, the followup film Midway seemed to be a compromise. Pretty much accurate, but made "entertaining" with relationships, subplots and high profile actors and very little effort put into effects and props. Guess it worked, as Midway did better at the box office.

Perhaps someday Tora! Tora! Tora! will get credit for accurately documenting one of the most decisive events in US history! To watch it is a history lesson that hasn't been altered by "revised history" or being "politically correct." It is simply the way it was.

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10 hours ago, TKB said:

Just curious as to other's opinions as to why Tora! Tora! Tora! seems to have always gotten trash reviews?

Being it is as historically correct as you can get, is that the problem --- not entertaining enough? While the more recent Pearl Harbor might be entertaining, that's all it is! There's little based on fact, and even then it's a looooong stretch of the truth.

Given when it was made in 1969, the amount of effort that was put into making Tora! Tora! Tora! was huge. Without CGI at thier disposal, 99% of what appears on film were real three dimensional objects, created for the film. Check out the Internet, there are several "making of the movie" sites, but Tora! Tora! Tora! - The making of the movie - American Production gives the most detailed insight.

Being Tora! Tora! Tora! was a box office disappointment, the followup film Midway seemed to be a compromise. Pretty much accurate, but made "entertaining" with relationships, subplots and high profile actors and very little effort put into effects and props. Guess it worked, as Midway did better at the box office.

Perhaps someday Tora! Tora! Tora! will get credit for accurately documenting one of the most decisive events in US history! To watch it is a history lesson that hasn't been altered by "revised history" or being "politically correct." It is simply the way it was.

The film did well in Japan and that might be a reason it didn't do so well in the USA.    My Japaneses mom,  who was 9 in 1941,  felt the film portrayed the Japanese in a 'fair' manner.    I.e. it was a propaganda war film that represented only the victor's perspective.     But such films often don't do well at the box office of the victor!

As you note the film deserves credit for 'accurately documenting',  but the film wasn't a documentary and therefore suffered,  from an  entertainment-of-the-audience perspective in having no characters to ground the film (which is why, for Midway there is the various back-stories that revolve around two fictional characters: Captain Matt Garth and his son.

 

   

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I agree that it wasn't a documentary in the true sense of the word, but I find it to presents the facts better then some so called "historical documentations" out there. I also agree that the Japanese perspective was presented in an unbiased manner. The fact that it was brought out that US sanctions against Japan played a major role in things and the attack wasn't simple Japan waking up one morning and deciding "Hey! Let's attack the US for the hell of it!"

I'm sure showing all the US blunders leading up to the attack probably didn't sit well with US movie goers, but history is history. Its no different then how in the aftermath of 9-11, people didn't like hearing how there were numerous warning signs that something was coming and US government "dropped the ball." Funny how we have all these intelligence agencies gathering information, but as it goes up the ladder it gets ignored. "Those that cannot remember the past are condemend to repeat it" --- George Santayana.

Like everyone else, I watch movies to be entertained. However, I'm a history person and when a historical event is the subject of a movie, I guess I'm looking more to "witness" that event rather then be entertained. In Macarthur, his stupidity in the Philippines is convieniently omitted and glossed over in Korea. That's beyond "artistic liberties" in my book. Appllo 13 is a good example of a movie being factual and entertaining as well, so it can be done.

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1 hour ago, TKB said:

I agree that it wasn't a documentary in the true sense of the word, but I find it to presents the facts better then some so called "historical documentations" out there. I also agree that the Japanese perspective was presented in an unbiased manner. The fact that it was brought out that US sanctions against Japan played a major role in things and the attack wasn't simple Japan waking up one morning and deciding "Hey! Let's attack the US for the hell of it!"

I'm sure showing all the US blunders leading up to the attack probably didn't sit well with US movie goers, but history is history. Its no different then how in the aftermath of 9-11, people didn't like hearing how there were numerous warning signs that something was coming and US government "dropped the ball." Funny how we have all these intelligence agencies gathering information, but as it goes up the ladder it gets ignored. "Those that cannot remember the past are condemend to repeat it" --- George Santayana.

Like everyone else, I watch movies to be entertained. However, I'm a history person and when a historical event is the subject of a movie, I guess I'm looking more to "witness" that event rather then be entertained. In Macarthur, his stupidity in the Philippines is convieniently omitted and glossed over in Korea. That's beyond "artistic liberties" in my book. Appllo 13 is a good example of a movie being factual and entertaining as well, so it can be done.

As a 'history person' I assume you're disappointed by the vast majority of Hollywood movies made during the studio-era related to historical American events.    E.g. all the Wyatt Earp \ OK Corral films.   It wasn't until Tombstone that we get a film without many historically in-actuate details.  

I don't know if you have seen the Errol Flynn \ Olivia Dehavilland \ Ronald Reagan film Santa Fee Trail,  but don't as a 'history person'.

Anyhow, enough with the negative;  what studio-era films do you feel present an historical event accurately enough,  but still have a strong entertainment value?  

 

 

   

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Don't misunderstand me, I love good movies, especially the old ones. I'll take a movie at face value and enjoy watching it without critiquing things about it. Example: Santa Fe Trail ---it doesn't bother me that, going by the movie, Jeb Stuart (1854) and George Custer (1861) graduated from West Point at the same time, or that together they captured John Brown, when in reality it was Robert E Lee and Jeb Stuart. I just sit back and enjoy it as a good old movie. Raymond Massey played a great John Brown. I know movies are simply a trip to fanatsyland. The things Errol Flynn pulls off are unbelievable, but its still enjoyable to watch him doing it. Wonder if Errol could coup with dealing with today's "inappropriate behavior" atmosphere.

I just brought up Tora! Tora! Tora! because it has always irked me that it gets slammed ("if you like seeing cardboard ships blowing up"), after all the work that went into making it. My thing is that MAJOR history event movies should strictly stick to the facts. I could deal with movie like Battle of the Bulge if it was simply made as a war film and titled something like say Down But Not Out.

Off the top of my head; studio-era films that are historically accurate would be:

  • Pride of the Marines: I've read that John Garfield had a lot to do with keeping it on the straight and narrow. Then again telling a story like that really needs no embelishment.
  • Thirty Seconds Over Toyko: Stuck to the facts; wouldn't consider it a wartime propaganda film.
  • Above and Beyond: Stuck to facts and a good character study of Tibbets and the enormous pressures he had to deal with.
  • Twelve O'clock High: A fictional story, but incorporates factual events experienced by aircrew members; main characters based on real 8th Air Force officers.

What's you opinion of them?

I just recently got into watching the Film Noir movies. They're pretty "assembly line" B movies, but still, I've gotten to like watching them.

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Now that I thought about it more

  • Grapes of Wrath: Thought it was extremely well done depicting the plight of the everyday man during the Depression. Brought across how humans can be compassionate, but also our brutalness towards one another.
  • All the King's Men: Lines up pretty well with Huey Long's career and how "dirty" politics were and are.
  • Boom Town: Depicted the greed and shortsightedness of the oil companies even in 1940. Tracy's courtroom speech was outstanding and predicted 78 years ago where we stand with oil today!
  • Inherit the Wind: Good depiction of the Scopes Trial, which in turn addressed McCarthyism, which I consider one of the a low points in US history. Tracy as Drummond (Clarence Darrow) and March as Brady (William Jenning Bryan) are perfectly cast. Again Stacy's speech addressing fanaticsim and ignorance is classic and thought provoking.
  • The Best Years of Our Lives: Fictional, but it clearly is an accurate portrayal of what returning servicemen and thier families faced after WW II. Returning home, battle weary ex-servicemen were faced with yet another battle. While they are all glad to be out of the service, they still desperately cling to the camaraderie combat has given them; the only thing they can be sure of. Whole cast is great, but Dana Andrews can hang his hat on this one. Standout scenes are:
  1. Loy's (Milly Stepnenson) very believable "uneasiness" when she brings Al breakfast in bed.
  2. March's (Al Stephenson) dinner speech where he "bites the hand that feeds him" and politely "calls out" the banker's GI loan practices.
  3. Harold (Homer Parrish) reflects on the high school photos of himself playing sports
  4. Harold lies in bed and finally realizes that the loss of his forearms has not changed O'Donnel's (Wilma) love for him. How can anyone not be moved as that tear rolls from the corner of his eye! You know he has finally "made it home."
  5. Andrew's (Fred Derry) walk through the aircraft graveyard is simply spellbinding.

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2 hours ago, TKB said:

Now that I thought about it more

  • Grapes of Wrath: Thought it was extremely well done depicting the plight of the everyday man during the Depression. Brought across how humans can be compassionate, but also our brutalness towards one another.
  • All the King's Men: Lines up pretty well with Huey Long's career and how "dirty" politics were and are.
  • Boom Town: Depicted the greed and shortsightedness of the oil companies even in 1940. Tracy's courtroom speech was outstanding and predicted 78 years ago where we stand with oil today!
  • Inherit the Wind: Good depiction of the Scopes Trial, which in turn addressed McCarthyism, which I consider one of the a low points in US history. Tracy as Drummond (Clarence Darrow) and March as Brady (William Jenning Bryan) are perfectly cast. Again Stacy's speech addressing fanaticsim and ignorance is classic and thought provoking.
  • The Best Years of Our Lives: Fictional, but it clearly is an accurate portrayal of what returning servicemen and thier families faced after WW II. Returning home, battle weary ex-servicemen were faced with yet another battle. While they are all glad to be out of the service, they still desperately cling to the camaraderie combat has given them; the only thing they can be sure of. Whole cast is great, but Dana Andrews can hang his hat on this one. Standout scenes are:
  1. Loy's (Milly Stepnenson) very believable "uneasiness" when she brings Al breakfast in bed.
  2. March's (Al Stephenson) dinner speech where he "bites the hand that feeds him" and politely "calls out" the banker's GI loan practices.
  3. Harold (Homer Parrish) reflects on the high school photos of himself playing sports
  4. Harold lies in bed and finally realizes that the loss of his forearms has not changed O'Donnel's (Wilma) love for him. How can anyone not be moved as that tear rolls from the corner of his eye! You know he has finally "made it home."
  5. Andrew's (Fred Derry) walk through the aircraft graveyard is simply spellbinding.

The problem with some of these films, to me, is that the leftist politics of the filmmakers get in the way of telling a truly accurate story. We know that THE GRAPES OF WRATH has to glorify the downtrodden man and not show the struggles faced by the capitalists to bring in the crops-- because that would not be liberal enough. Also INHERIT THE WIND has the religious right look extremely overzealous. A very liberal-minded actor like Fredric March plays the conservative lawyer so that they can give him a subversive spin. It's not really authentic to how someone who believes in the bible would really behave. It's a dirty little spoof about that. 

These films are "good" if you are a viewer with a more liberal mindset who agrees with these depictions. But if you're a conservative right-winger it seems like tosh. And Hollywood loves to pat itself on the back by giving out awards for tosh with a certain political agenda. And then after the awards seasons come and go, they elevate these things to "classic" so that they will always be around.

Incidentally I would be saying this very thing if we were talking about films that push a conservative political angle by making the left look weak or foolish. The main point being that these films are not very balanced and do not offer up accurate depictions of a real cross-section of America, because they are products designed to promote the partisan political views of the filmmakers.

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11 hours ago, TKB said:

Don't misunderstand me, I love good movies, especially the old ones. I'll take a movie at face value and enjoy watching it without critiquing things about it. Example: Santa Fe Trail ---it doesn't bother me that, going by the movie, Jeb Stuart (1854) and George Custer (1861) graduated from West Point at the same time, or that together they captured John Brown, when in reality it was Robert E Lee and Jeb Stuart. I just sit back and enjoy it as a good old movie. Raymond Massey played a great John Brown. I know movies are simply a trip to fanatsyland. The things Errol Flynn pulls off are unbelievable, but its still enjoyable to watch him doing it. Wonder if Errol could coup with dealing with today's "inappropriate behavior" atmosphere.

I just brought up Tora! Tora! Tora! because it has always irked me that it gets slammed ("if you like seeing cardboard ships blowing up"), after all the work that went into making it. My thing is that MAJOR history event movies should strictly stick to the facts. I could deal with movie like Battle of the Bulge if it was simply made as a war film and titled something like say Down But Not Out.

Off the top of my head; studio-era films that are historically accurate would be:

  • Pride of the Marines: I've read that John Garfield had a lot to do with keeping it on the straight and narrow. Then again telling a story like that really needs no embelishment.
  • Thirty Seconds Over Toyko: Stuck to the facts; wouldn't consider it a wartime propaganda film.
  • Above and Beyond: Stuck to facts and a good character study of Tibbets and the enormous pressures he had to deal with.
  • Twelve O'clock High: A fictional story, but incorporates factual events experienced by aircrew members; main characters based on real 8th Air Force officers.

What's you opinion of them?

I just recently got into watching the Film Noir movies. They're pretty "assembly line" B movies, but still, I've gotten to like watching them.

Ok, I'm following you.   As an FYI,  I have encountered some that are so into history that they can't take movies at 'face value';   I.e. they focus too much on the historically inaccuracies.

Funny that I used Santa Fe Trail as an example;  you really do know about the inaccuracies in this film.   Like you I find this adventure film entertaining with the understanding that this is an Errol-Flynn-as-hero movie based on a very important historical event in US history.    I'm also a big fan of Olivia DeHavilland and I have always found it assuming how the producer worked her into this film as the made-up character Kit Carson Holliday.   (since as you know Error and Olivia were box office gold as a team).    

As for those WWII films;  Haven't seen Above and Beyond,  but the others I really enjoy.  I.e. their historically accuracy didn't diminish their entertainment value.   E.g. Twelve O'clock High showing the breakdown of the prior commander doesn't 'fit' into a propaganda theme,  but the realism was moving.

As for Film Noir;    My favorite genre.     As for 'B' pictures; well that is somewhat misguided;  If from a 'major' studio like Warner Bros, RKO,  Columbia, or Fox,  most of their noirs where not created by the 'B' unit at the studio and often featured  the 'A' actors at those studios;  Bogie, Mitchum,  Ford,  or Andrews etc..    I suspect some of the films you have seen were created by independent studios (note that I put 'major' in quotes because I try to treat these independents with the same level of respect as the 'major' ones).    Anyhow, these independent studio film were lower budget pictures and they typically featured non-major stars,  but often that made them more realistic.   E.g. the leading male or female actors could be really bad and get killed for their actions,  while major studios didn't wish for their bigger stars to be portrayed that way.

    

 

 

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TopBilled,

I'm a "tolerant of all political/religious views" type, BUT I'm also a "don't shove your views down my throat" type. By the same token I'm neither liberal or conservative; guess I'd be classified as a "fence sitter" untill I make up my mind as to whether I'm liberal or conservative on a subject.

I watch movies like Inherit the Wind and Grapes of Wrath the same way. Would anyone argue the way the "downtrodden man" or "teacher" were treated was justified? It was just plain wrong and if that comes across in a liberal or conservative fashion, what's the difference? It made you think and question how this could have happened.

 

 

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55 minutes ago, TKB said:

TopBilled,

I'm a "tolerant of all political/religious views" type, BUT I'm also a "don't shove your views down my throat" type. By the same token I'm neither liberal or conservative; guess I'd be classified as a "fence sitter" untill I make up my mind as to whether I'm liberal or conservative on a subject.

I watch movies like Inherit the Wind and Grapes of Wrath the same way. Would anyone argue the way the "downtrodden man" or "teacher" were treated was justified? It was just plain wrong and if that comes across in a liberal or conservative fashion, what's the difference? It made you think and question how this could have happened.

 

 

Hey,  I'm known as THE 'fence sitter' around these parts.     As for Inherit the Wind;  yea, the way Darren was treated was just unfair (wink \ wink).

 

 

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JAMESJAZZGUITA,

Guess I was generalizing.

Never considered the ones put out by "major studios" were Film Noir --- just good movies and I have always watched. The ones I referred to are the independent studio ones. They're kinda like watching old Sci-Fi movies; somewhat cheesey but you still find yourself watching them. Funny how crime doesn't pay whether it be a "A" or "B" film, but as you said the "B" bad guy is generally knocked off with a "he deserved it" perspective.

I said I just recently started watch Film Noir, so thanks for pointing out I have been watching them all along!

Errol/Olivia --- the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan of that time. Stacy/Hepburn are probably considered "the" pairing and were great together, but the Errol/Oliva pairing had a real spark arcing between them.

Above and Beyond has been on TCM a couple of times over the past few years.

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