May 1941. After the Doolittle Raid Japan aims to expand its territory in the Pacific, to make such raids less likely. Their next target: Midway Island. However, the US Navy is intercepting their messages and has partially cracked their encryption code, forewarning them of Japan's intentions. Two US aircraft carrier task groups are sent to Midway, resulting in the one of the most important battles in history.Written by
Routinely this movie shows different planes purported to be the same airplane. For instance, when Ensign Gay is shot down his 2-seat torpedo bomber is shown as a single seat Hellcat fighter crashing into the Ocean. German planes and even British planes are shown in some crash and aerial dogfight scenes. See more »
Ensign George Gay is shot in the right hand and arm. But, when he is swimming in the water, he is favoring his left arm, and reaching for his flotation device with his right hand. Later, when he is in the water watching the attack, the wounds are gone. See more »
[to Captain Garth after getting a briefing on the Coral Sea operation]
We can't trade them carrier for carrier, Matt.
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A television version exists, with additional cast and plot. It runs four hours with commercials. The main plot points are a Charlton Heston-Susan Sullivan romance and the Coral Sea battle (reffered to in the other version) is played out like the Midway battle. At the end of the TV version, Sullivan and Christine Kukobo are both shown waiting dockside. See more »
Saturday night TV is a bit of a dead zone down here so I suppose one should be grateful for the odd watchable movie, even if its 20 years old. This one looks older than it actually is, due to the liberal use of stock footage and a cast that's a retirement counsellor's dream. A relatively youthful Charlton Heston is in the lead, but there's Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, Robert Mitchum, Robert Webber and even the great Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune. A curious aspect is that every military character with a speaking part is an officer; the grunts just get to grunt. It's very much the view from the bridge (and the pilot's seat). Despite this aspect and the attempt at historical realism it's not made clear quite how it was that the Japanese made the error that cost them the battle, getting caught with their flightdecks full just as the American torpedo bombers arrived. The contribution of the American land-based aircraft is also given scant recognition.
Still you do get a bit of a story, though the less said about the silly sub-plot involving the Heston character's son and a Japanese-American girl the better. The director, Jack Smight had extensive T V experience, as did many of the younger actors, and this shows up in the rather static dialogue scenes you get when you aren't allowed to move the cameras much. The Japanese voices are dubbed, so that Paul Free, the voice of Boris Badenov in "Bullwinkle," (and countless other cartoon characters) is Admiral Yamamoto. The music was written by John Williams who a year or so later did the music for "Star Wars" and you can sense the similarities.
In the film the military operations side of things abounds with anacronisms, partly due to the liberal use of stock footage as mentioned. I don't think you can be too hard on the producers (the low profile but financially successful Mirisch Brothers) for not using a real Japanese World War 2 aircraft carrier since they are all at the bottom of the sea, but the crashed jet on the Yorktown's flightdeck was a bit sloppy. "Tora Tora Tora," which cost more money, was a better film. Not because it cost more money but because it was more carefully made, more balanced (both side's story told well) and more honest, perhaps also because it dealt with defeat rather than victory from the American viewpoint. "Midway" has some suspense, plenty of action, and the the patriotism drum is not banged to the point of pain.
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