The summer of 1942 brought Naval stalemate to the Pacific as the American and Japanese fleets stood at even numbers each waiting for the other to begin a renewed offensive. "Midway" tells the story of this historic June battle where a Japanese carrier force, in an attempt to occupy Midway island and lure the American fleet to destruction, was meet valiently by US forces operating off of three aircraft carriers and numerous escort ships. It was the first battle in which naval air power was extensivly used, and at its conclusion the Japanese Carrier force had been completly destroyed which lead the way for the US 1943 and 44 offensives which would eventually bring the Pacific War to a close. Written by
Anthony Hughes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Almost all the on-board scenes were filmed on the USS Lexington. Lexington was an Essex-class "fast carrier" commissioned in February, 1943. Even some of the "Japanese carriers" shown in birds-eye views were actually Lexington (with the film reversed to put the island superstructure on the port side whereas all US carriers had them on the starboard side) Lexington, decommissioned in 1991, was the longest serving carrier in history. Lexington is now a museum ship at Corpus Christi, Texas. See more »
Though the movie shows two Kamikazes hitting the Yorktown, there are no reports of them hitting any ships during Midway. In fact, the long shot of a kamikaze smashing into the island of the Yorktown is actually real footage of a suicide plane hitting a carrier during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. See more »
Of course "Midway" is a flawed movie. The subplot about Japanese-Americans is ridiculous and seems like a forced attempt to be PC during the post-Vietnam 1970s when it wasn't in fashion to be completely celebratory of America. Of course it's unsatisfying that the Japanese actors don't speak Japanese and we have to hear Paul Frees dubbing Toshiro Mifune. Of course the stock footage isn't going to please aviation and naval buffs who know these details like the back of their hands, but to me this is a trivial complaint that fails to take into account the limits of 1970s technology or budgeting. "Pearl Harbor" ultimately got those details right through CGI and the end result was a far worse film in the final analysis. Because ultimately, for all the flaws that are in "Midway" it succeeds because it does stick to the essential truths when telling the story of the battle, and I know this because when I first saw this movie on the CBS Late Movie around 1979, I got so hooked that I went out and read every book on the battle I could find including Walter Lord's "Incredible Victory." The movie had given me a starting reference point and while I was sorry that some key aspects of the latter stages of the battle were not depicted (such as the torpedoing and eventual sinking of the Yorktown), I couldn't have asked for anything better in terms of getting me to learn more about this great turning point of World War II. As far as I'm concerned, it's good that Hollywood did tackle this subject in an era when the influence of "Tora! Tora! Tora!", "The Longest Day" etc. still hung over the proceedings because if it hadn't been made back then, we would today be forced to see it given the "Pearl Harbor" and "Titanic" treatment that is pure garbage.
John Williams contributes one of his finer pre-Star Wars scores with two great themes, the "Midway March" (which is only heard in the end credits of the theatrical version and became more popular in an expanded concert arrangement by the Boston Pops) and the "Men Of The Yorktown March" which dominates much of the score and offers great foreshadowings of the Throne Room sequence in "Star Wars" and the Smallville music in "Superman."
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