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Tora! Tora! Tora!

Featuring: Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten & E.G. Marshall

Format: DVD | Rating: Universal Suitable for All

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  Failed Epic

| | See all filmfence's reviews (17)

Tora Tora Tora is typically American but in a way that does deliver a sense of the shattering experience of the occurrence of the unexpected. The introduction and build-up from the Japanese and American aspects of the attack on Pearl Harbour are well balanced and viewed from both sides in a manner that encourages the viewer to accept that it is done fairly. The attack itself is delivered very effectively emphasising the impact of surprise and does nothing to sensationalise the destruction as was found in the more recent film 'Pearl Harbour'.
The acting however is the let down in many instances and in particular from the American actors who can offer only one truly notable name in Joseph Cotton. The rest do little to add strength to this lengthy film.
The Japanese cast are far more effective adding passion and emotion with commitment and character. whilst their dialogue is subtitled into English which adds to the impact .
All in all a very watchable film that never quite meets its true potential.

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| | See all Quiggan's reviews (166)

Told fairly from both the Japanese and American perspectives, this unflinching and historically accurate film details the meticulous planning and secrecy that went into the surprise attack on the American naval base of Pearl Harbour on 7th December 1941.

While the Japanese High Command bickers over how the attack will be launched, aided by the misgivings of the reluctant Admiral Yamamoto, American Intelligence receives numerous warnings that a strike is imminent but fails to act - or be believed by high-ranking officials.

These early scenes successfully build the tension for the airial attack itself which, when it finally arrives, does not disappoint. From the sinking of the USS Arizona to the straffing of the airfields by Japanese fighters, events hurl along at breakneck speed - although there is still time for Human elements to shine through among the bullets and devestation.

Once the assault is over, these Human elements come to the fore once again. Flight Leader Fuchida (who gives the "Tora! Tora! Tora!" attack signal of the title) cannot believe the cautious Admiral Nagumo is not going to send in another wave of attack aircraft to finish the job and intends instead to head for home, while Admiral Yamamoto is beset by doubts over what has actually been achieved. Meanwhile the Americans at Pearl Harbour assess all the bad luck, faulty intelligence and delayed messages which could have prevented the tradegy.

Thankfully, the film ends on a bleak and rather poignant note, with the USS Enterprise arriving to see the Harbour burning and the anchored fleet in ruins - an ending which, it seems, modern Hollywood would never contemplate today.

The film had four Directors - two for each of the antagonists, and the subtitling of the Japanese scenes increases the realism no end.

The lack of star names attached to the film is a bonus, too, as rather than drawing attention to the next "big" presence to walk onscreen - a problem faced by the later "Midway" - we can concentrate more on the complex dramas being played out. That said, the cast are all excellent in their roles.

For the true story of what happended on that Day Of Infamy, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" cannot be bettered and, as such, should have a proud place in any DVD collection.

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