Skip to comments.‘Midway’ celebrates heroism with an old-fashioned approach to the epic war drama
Posted on 11/09/2019 1:06:36 AM PST by 11th_VA
Midway is so square, so old-school and old-fashioned, it almost feels avant-garde. Ambiguity is not its goal, nor is nihilism its motivating philosophy. It aims to celebrate heroism, sacrifice, determination and grit, and if you dont like that it really does not care.
Though its appearing some 70 years after the epochal World War II battle it re-creates and more than 40 years after a Hollywood film with the same name on the same subject this Midway, as directed by Roland Emmerich and written by Wes Tooke, pays no attention to the notion that times have changed...
(Excerpt) Read more at google.com ...
I had two uncles, long gone, one served on The U.S.S Franklin and one on The U.S.S Santa Fe that came along side and rendered aid to the Franklin. Both survived the war.
Then if you haven’t seen this, you should: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tJh-XkVyYA
Friend, you might want to check your history. The Akagi had planes on deck preparing to launch when McCluskey fell on them. Thanks for video, I’ll check it out. The tragedy of my late Uncle Dave, who was a gunners mate on The Santa Fe was that he survived the war only to be killed in a construction accident in 1959. Left my aunt a widow with four young boys to raise. She never remarried.
Sharing: what I learned about this from my Dad
When the United States Navy sent director John Ford to Midway Island in 1942, he believed that the military wanted him to make a documentary on life at a small, isolated military base, and filmed casual footage of the sailors and marines there working and having fun. Two days before the battle, he learned that the Japanese planned to attack the base and that it was preparing to defend itself.
Ford’s handheld, 16mm footage of the battle was captured totally impromptu. He had been in transit on the island, roused from his bunk by the sounds of the battle, and started filming.
Ford was wounded by enemy fire while filming the battle. Acclaimed as a hero when he returned home because of the footage and the minor wound.
Ford was worried that military censors would prevent the footage from being shown in public. After returning to Los Angeles, he gave the footage to Robert Parrish, who had worked with him on How Green Was My Valley, to edit in secret. Ford spliced in footage of James Roosevelt, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s son and a Marine Corps officer; when the president saw the film in the White House, he told William Leahy: “I want every mother in America to see this film”, thus PROTECTING FORD FROM CENSORSHIP
Parrish wrote an in-depth account of the making of The Battle of Midway in his autobiography, Growing Up in Hollywood (1976). The film runs for 18 minutes, was distributed by 20th Century Fox, and was one of four winners of the inaugural, 1942 Academy Award for Best Documentary.
Seeing men he had met and filmed die horrified Ford, who said, “I am really a coward” compared to those who fought. He had spent time with Torpedo Squadron 8, and 29 of 30 men of the unit died or were missing after the battle.
Ford assembled the footage he had taken of the squadron into an eight-minute film, adding titles praising the squadron for having “written the most brilliant pages in the glowing history of our Naval Air Forces” and identifying each man as he appeared. He printed the result, Torpedo Squadron 8, to 8mm film suitable for home projectors and sent copies to the men’s families.
ACTUAL 18 MINUTE MIDWAY DOCUMENTARY:
I recall reading a book about the Pacific War by some famous author with an amusing passage between Marines and Japanese.
Stuck in foxholes, some Marine shouts out: "Tojo Sucks!"
Japanese guy shouts back: "Rose'vere sucks!"
Some Republicam Marines shouts: "Damn Right He Does!"
Or so I remember the exchange went.
“Shattered Sword” is a very meticulous book. Long but fascinating.
Is it a spoiler to say after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor this was a clever way to regroup like John Belushi wanted? Going across the Pacific instead of the Atlantic had the element of surprise. Important in wartime.
From the Millenials Guide to Midway. A full length 4 page book available on Kindle.
I saw the movie today. I might even see it again.
The original ‘76 movie had a much bigger impact on my psyche than this latest version did. It wasn’t until I was older that I understood and saw its flaws, but I still enjoy it more than Tora! Tora! Tora! and Bruckheimer’s Pearl Harbor.
The new movie was more entertaining and did what no war movie has done in a long time: tried to eschew/downplay the romance angles and just accept that the movie will only be seriously attended to by war-movie buffs, historical rivet-counters (that find fault with anything put in front of them, but enjoy it all the more for telling everyone about all the faults they found), and action-movie fans. It was fun to watch in a summer blockbuster sort of way.
This new movie tries to do a lot. It shoehorns Pearl Harbor, a raid on the Marshall Islands, The Doolittle Raid, tags the Battle of Coral Sea, briefly explains the part cryptology played in shaping the Midway battle, and finally the Big Show. The whole time, ships and planes—on both—sides—blow up real good. The wives are appreciative of what their husbands are doing, are anxious about it, and look good saying it.
The Japanese are pretty much unchanged from the original movie: ruthless, rigid, disciplined, and doggedly following a fatally flawed battle plan. There is exploration that the Americans will be waiting for them, but it is ultimately dismissed as unrealistic and the plan is pitched with precision into the US Navy’s strike zone.
I think the original movie did a better job of explaining the battle; especially the indecision over whether to continue attacking or (finally) attacking the American carrier group and the loss of the Yorktown. I think it even lent subtitles to specific ships and air groups so you could follow their efforts. Thanks to an extended version that appeared in 80’s on television, the Battle of Coral Sea and the arc of USS Yorktown’s participation is more pronounced.
I noticed a few small things missing from the movie and these my only rivet-counter nits: I did not notice any F2 Buffalos, F4 Wildcats, and only 1 B-17. If anyone else saw them perform in the movie, please point it out to me.
Acting: I thought both were equally well/badly acted. If you like rock-ribbed, square-jawed, cigar-chewing, wise-cracking American heroes both have them in abundance. And get a good look, because they’re a vanishing breed. The new movie has two or three stunning wives and a nightclub singer to rest your eyes on, so that’s a plus over the earlier film. The Japanese, as mentioned, are on a par with the ‘76 feature.
Okay, that’s it. As I said, I enjoyed it. I was more entertained by it than the ‘76 Midway, but thought the original a better vehicle for telling the story of the battle itself. The new movie packs a lot of other extraneous historical events that seemed (to me) unnecessary but are interesting in showing the context of the battle.
Just got home from watching it.
Same here. Loved it. Totally exceeded my expectations. Very manly action flick. You have to admire those guys who braved all that enemy fire to win that battle. I’ll be getting the Blu-ray when it comes out.
Thats what Im saying - this movie could grow legs among the older generation and really become a hit. Glad you liked it !!!
Great write up ! (You should do that for a living) !! !
Thanks for posting that - I never knew about that movie; and its even on YouTube today !!!
Still, it seems almost miraculous that an unabashedly patriotic movie like this would come out today. I loved watching these heroes in an age of snowflakes in which students feel unsafe on campus because Ann Coulter is going to speak.
It definitely feels like a movie from a different era. The ‘76 movie used a lot of stock footage (though new to my eyes at the time) wheras the new uses CGI throughout. I’m surprised at how much was packed in. The time flew and it didn’t feel as long as it really was.
Thanks! It was a good movie. If you liked the first Midway, I think you’ll like the new one.
I’d love to write reviews of the like, but there is a lot of good competition (just among FReepers!) to distinguish myself against. That and my grammar.
As much as I like Heston, I got the feeling he over-acted his role with emoting and all in the original. Mitchum nailed it for me.
Final note: Dennis Quaid plays Admiral Bull Halsey and steals every scene he’s in. Woody Harrelson grows on you as Admiral Nimitz. The newer crop of young actors playing the pilots and tail gunners I’m not familiar with but were admirable as devil-may-care flyboys.
Good and timely reminder.
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