Tora! Tora! Tora!

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In 1941, following months of economic embargo, Japan prepares to open its war against the United States with a surprise attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor.

ACTORS :  Martin Balsam, Sô Yamamura, Jason Robards

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1970

POSTAGE : Free postage within Australia

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Tora! Tora! Tora!  This dramatic retelling of the Pearl Harbor attack details everything in the days that led up to that tragic moment in American history. As United States and Japanese relations strain over the U.S. embargo of raw materials, Air Staff Officer Minoru Genda (Tatsuya Mihashi) plans the preemptive strike against the United States. Although American intelligence agencies intercept Japanese communications hinting at the attack, they are unwilling to believe such a strike could ever occur on U.S. soil.

“I fear we have only awakened a sleeping giant…”

Tora! Tora! Tora!   I just finished reading a great book on the history of Japan in the Second World War, “Rising Sun” by John Toland, and decided to watch again.

This is a great movie and immaculately accurate down to the last detail, such as how the Japanese trained for the attack on Pearl Harbor at Kagoshima City on Ryukyu Island. The book describes how the pilots in crews of three, zoomed down over the mountains behind the city, over the pier, and dropped torpedoes at a breakwater 300 yards away. The movie had all these details. Throughout, it was accurate even down to the exact wording of communications and quotes from the various people involved.

I loved how the Japanese directed the Japanese parts and vice versa for the Americans. It really told both sides of the story.

Technically as a film though, it has limitations. Some of the models used are kind of cheesy, but some are actually pretty good. But hey, it was 1970, this is before Star Wars even. And a lot of the acting is pretty wooden.

If you’re looking for great special effects, and not much substance, see Pearl Harbor. If you’re interested in the story, the “why”, and figures involved in this historic event, definitely see T

Better yet, read the book I referenced above – it won the Pulitzer Prize and you won’t be able to put it down – and you will be spellbound by this movie knowing all the background and reasons for the Japanese attack, and all the details about the characters.

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