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DECEMBER 7TH POST OF RICHARD FLEISCHER'S 'TORA! TORA! TORA!'

Title: Tora! Tora! Tora! Year: 1970 Rating: ****

American director/producer Richard Fleischer mans only half of TORA! TORA! TORA! centering before and during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, leaving the rest to the equal perspective of Japanese military leaders by Japanese filmmakers Kinji Fukasaku and Toshio Masuda, a device you wouldn't get about the German Leaders' side of World War II... 

But what really works is perhaps what made the movie fail at the box office: No big stars to outshine the subject matter, rapid-fire subtitles, a non-dramatic, documentary realism and the true main characters are E.G. Marshall and Wesley Addy playing two Washington D.C. insiders using an early "fax machine" that provides enigmatic yet foreboding information, inserting a little espionage into the war genre...

While on the other side of the Pacific, Sô Yamamura plays Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto with far more empathy and prowess than Navy flakes Jason Robards and Martin Balsam as Generals Short and Kimmel: One demanding/commanding an extremely unwise location for all "parked" aircraft, the other ready for a cozy round of golf (exactly 79-years from today) on the fateful early morning of December 7th, 1941...

Taking up the action-packed third act with explosive widescreen glory mixed with cold and calculating reality like actually being there, though mostly as an impartial observer since there aren't any cliché movie-soldiers (like some naïve freckle-faced kid with a "girl back home" or the cynical cigar-chomping maverick he'd look up to): Unlike most other films on this subject, TORA! TORA! TORA! is about historical accuracy, not fictional history... take that Michael Bay!

Wesley Addy and E.G. Marshall decoding TORA! TORA! TORA


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