In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.
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>
According to co-Writer Bob Gale in the DVD documentary, many of the events in the movie are based on real incidents. The Army really put an anti-aircraft gun in the yard of a homeowner on the Maine coast. A Japanese submarine shelled a refinery in Ellwood on the California coast on February 23, 1943. An air raid false alarm over Los Angeles resulted in Civil Defense and Army weapons firing into the air on the night of February 24 and 25, 1942, thinking they were being attacked by the Japanese. The infamous Zoot Suit Riots, between Hispanic youths and servicemen, took place in June 1943. See more »
When Loomis crashes the plane in the La Brea Tar Pits, he is only wearing his beige uniform shirt, and Donna is only wearing her short-sleeved gray shirt. When they open the door and scream at the dinosaur statue, Loomis is wearing his dark brown uniform coat, and Donna is wearing her long-sleeved gray coat. See more »
On December 7, 1941, the Naval Air Arm of the Imperial Japanese Fleet, in a surprise attack, struck the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor and hurtled an unsuspecting America into World War II.
American citizens were stunned, shocked and outraged at this treacherous attack. On the West Coast, paranoia gripped the entire population as panic-stricken citizens were convinced that California was the next target of the Imperial Japanese Forces.
Major General Joseph W. Stilwell, ...
[...] See more »
During the closing credits shooting explosions are seen. See more »
The version released on network television and VHS/DVD/laserdisc is Spielberg's original director's cut, running 146 minutes, fleshing out sub-plots and characterizations, including:
Wally and Dennis getting thrown out onto the street by Mr. Malcomb after he fires them from the diner where they work.
Miss Fitzroy lecturing a group of women, Betty and Maxine among them, about tonight's USO dance which is interupted by a group of Army service men and Sailors entering and chanting wanting the women.
A department store scene with Wally fussing about buying an expensive new zoot suit and Dennis sounding a phoney air-raid siren which leads to panic in the store including a gun-toting Santa Claus yelling out command orders which is revealed to be a set up by Wally who walks out of the store wearing the zoot suit while Dennis meets the twin girls for the first time.
A scene with Scioli outside his house arguing with his non-English speaking wife about converting their car into an armored car while talking with Claude about sending him and someone else atop the Santa Monica ferris wheel on a spot mission for Japanese planes.
A extra scene with Ito and the I-19 Japanese submarine shore party disguising themselves as Christmas trees in a remote Christmas tree lot and the drunken Hollis Wood trying to "chop" them down which leads to his capture.
Scioli arriving at the ferris wheel with Claude and Herbie and explaing to them about their mission in the ferris wheel.
A dinner scene at the Douglas home and Ward explaining to Betty about her going to the USO dance and telling her about the pros and cons about meeting servicemen.
A barracks scene with Odgen Johnson Jones arriving for the first time at the barracks and imediately quarling with the racist Foley about property lines within their quarters.
A scene outside the USO club where Wally arrives and meets with Martinez and his Zoot Suit friends where they are denied access to the club where Corporal Stretch shows up and sets Wally's zoot suit afire which nearly leads to a riot between the Zoot Suiters and the Servicemen. Wally then meets Dennis dressed up as a Marine in order to gain entrance into the club with the twins as his dates.
Additional dialoge between Captain Birkhead and Donna in their car on the way to the airstrip and being afraid of the dark.
Another barracks scene where Sergeant Tree breaks up a fistfight between Jones and Foley by informing them about the riot on Hollywood Blvd. and showing them climing into their tank and starting it up.
A scene of the Japanese submarine I-19 arriving for the first time outside the Douglas house and the sub's entire crew on the deck watching Joan Douglas taking a bath through the bathroom window.
A scene of the tank traveling down a residential street and Wally shooting up Officer Miller's police car to pieces, sending the policeman and some paserby's running for their lives.
1941 is a unique movie. 1 part of it is animal house-esque lowbrow humor, 1 part is B-movie love story, and 1 part stoic war movie, and 2 parts insane hilarity.
It is a weird mix to say the least.
First, the problems: 1. The first half of the movie is slow. It grinds on making you wonder why you're watching this movie.
2. The "Love story" subplot is poorly executed for what this movie is trying to do.
3. many of the actors are not used to their fullest potential (especially Dan Akroyd and John Candy) while others receive excessive screen time. (see: The slow moving love story sub-plot) But then there are the good aspects: 1. John Belushi is hilarious. He would have been funnier had he interacted with more characters rather than appearing in many solo shots, but he was funny.
2. The "Epic Battle" was great. It had me laughing as my sides hurt.
3. Slim Pickens: His appearance in the movie was truly where the movie stopped being slow, and the fun really started. He was great in his scenes and between the dialogue and his visual scenes, you can't help but laugh.
There's more, but in short, if you don't mind sitting through a slow build up, the payoff is worth the wait.
It's not the best movie ever, but in the barren entertainment landscape that is Weekend Television: Finding this movie can be like an oasis in the desert. It's solid Saturday afternoon fun.
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