Hysteria grips California in the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. An assorted group of defenders attempt to make the coast defensible against an imagined Japanese invasion, in this big budget, big cast comedy. Members of a Japanese submarine crew scout out the madness, along with a Captain in Germany's Kreigsmarine (Navy). Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
Spielberg's good friend Stanley Kubrick suggested he make 1941 a drama. There was also talk of making it a musical. (Source: Illeana Douglas's intro to the movie on Turner Classic Movies.) See more »
While Betty and Sitarsky are rolling around underneath the truck, her skirt is very dirty. The next time you see her, it's cleaner. When we see her walking away from the incident in tears, her skirt is completely clean. Then Wally scoops her up onto the tank, and her skirt is dirty again. When Betty is shown at her house the morning, after the attack by the Japanese sub, her entire outfit is completely clean. See more »
[reporting over the radio on a riot at the USO]
Ladies and gentlemen, every where I look... soldiers are fighting sailors, sailors are fighting Marines! Directly in front of me, I see a flying blond floozy! Everywhere I look... everywhere, pure pandemonium... pandemonium!
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End credits feature scenes showing cast members screaming. See more »
This film was made for 1% of the population. Happily, I'm in that 1%.
Steven Speilberg once asked a friend of mine, "Why didn't anyone like this movie?" Well, I think that I can answer that - "1941" is a gigantic in-joke. The people who are in on the joke are people who, like myself, have an oversized love and knowledge of the city of Los Angeles and it's history. I think that in the vast, world-wide movie-going public, this group probably comprises 1%. For that group, "1941" has a wonderful nostalgia value. And for the people in that 1% that have a twisted sense of humor and enjoy seeing nostalgic L.A. blown to bits, this movie really delivers. By the way, the folks with that twisted sense of humor probably account for about 1% of the original 1%.
I don't know why, but having grown up in L.A. and being an aficionado of it's history, I find it funny to see planes in a dogfight over Hollywood Blvd, the ferris wheel rolling off the end of Santa Monica Pier, and aircraft crashing into the La Brea Tarpits. But for non-locals and people unfamiliar with the paranoia that gripped Southern California in the wake of Pearl Harbor, this movie will likely seem confusing and silly. To the history buff with a twisted sense of humor (like me, proud member of the 1% of the 1%), the movie is not only amusing, but sometimes surprisingly accurate, historically. Robert Stack plays General Joseph Stillwell - a very real historical figure in L.A. history. Stack even bears a striking resemblance to the real General Stillwell. The whole movie is based upon a few real-life incidents of panicky anti-aircraft fire that occurred over L.A. in 1941/1942, as well as a Japanese sub that actually shelled an oil refinery near Santa Barbara. Like "Chinatown" (a film mistakenly thought to be an accurate account of L.A. water politics in the 1930s), "1941" borrows from real-life history and distorts it into pure fabrication. The difference is that while "Chinatown" is a noir drama, "1941" is an over-the-top comedy. Both films appeal to the historian, but as it is often said, comedy is much harder to pull off than drama. You either love "1941", or sit though it, saying, "huh?".
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