HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Diana's Wedding
Deerskin
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  1941 Bombs Away
Year: 1979
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Bobby Di Cicco, Treat Williams, Tim Matheson, Nancy Allen, Toshirô Mifune, Christopher Lee, Ned Beatty, Lorraine Gary, Robert Stack, Warren Oates, Murray Hamilton, Lionel Stander, Eddie Deezen, Slim Pickens, John Candy
Genre: Comedy, WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 6 votes)
Review: It is December 1941, six days after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. American citizens are getting paranoid about when the next attack is to take place - are their fears justified by the appearance of a Japanese submarine off the coast of California? And will they be able to get their act together and repel the attackers?

You know, it's easy to forget that Steven Spielberg's first war epic was this big budget comedy flop from the late seventies. It was scripted by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, with help from John Milius (who was also one of the producers) and, if nothing else, is a testament to the fact that throwing millions of dollars at your film won't necessarily make the public go and see it. Even if some of them might actually enjoy it.

The large cast is made up of fashionable Saturday Night Live comedians, up and coming talent of the day, and seasoned pros. All of them show a tendency to overact, in an attempt to match the overwhelming size of the project. I suppose it's appropriate that, being a war film, most of the comedy is built around large scale destruction and violence - only in this battle, no one dies.

There's too much shouting, an over-reliance on blowing things up and broad slapstick for laughs, but 1941 does have its moments: father Ned Beatty takes his daughter aside before she goes out to tell her that the soldiers have only one thing on their minds... so she should "show them a good time"; General Robert Stack is more interested in seeing Dumbo than doing anything about the chaos outside; Eddie Deezen winding up Murray Hamilton as they watch for an invasion fleet.

The Japanese themselves aren't really much of a threat, more akin to the villains you'd see in comic war movies of the forties, and the Americans end up doing more fighting amongst themselves than with the enemy. But despite the irreverent air, 1941 is a patriotic film at heart, and when pushed the Americans come together and do their best for their country - see Dan Aykroyd's rousing speech, which is a nice scene.

The high spirits on show can be infectious, even if some of the script is painfully contrived (Nancy Allen's aeroplane fetish for one thing), and Spielberg's efforts to turn the action into a live action Tex Avery cartoon are strained. But with a film as big as this, you can't look away; as the mass hysteria builds and the movie piles setpiece upon setpiece it's never boring. Music by John Williams (of course). Also with: Dianne Kay, Wendie Jo Sperber, Samuel Fuller, John Landis, Dick Miller, Sidney Lassick, Elisha Cook Jr. Try to see the director's cut.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 14686 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Steven Spielberg  (1946 - )

Currently the most famous film director in the world, Spielberg got his start in TV, and directing Duel got him noticed. After The Sugarland Express, he memorably adapted Peter Benchley's novel Jaws and the blockbusters kept coming: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Indiana Jones sequels, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, 2005's mega-budget remake of War of the Worlds, his Tintin adaptation, World War One drama War Horse and pop culture blizzard Ready Player One.

His best films combine thrills with a childlike sense of wonder, but when he turns this to serious films like The Color Purple, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Munich and Bridge of Spies these efforts are, perhaps, less effective than the out-and-out popcorn movies which suit him best. Of his other films, 1941 was his biggest flop, The Terminal fell between two stools of drama and comedy and one-time Kubrick project A.I. divided audiences; Hook saw him at his most juvenile - the downside of the approach that has served him so well. Also a powerful producer.

 
Review Comments (1)
Posted by:
Paul Shrimpton
Date:
2 Jun 2016
  Nice touch of trivia - the 'Polar Bear Club' girl at the start of the movie, who swims naked and suddenly realises that she's not alone in the water, is a certain Susan Backlinie, who played pretty much exactly the same scene - although with a very different outcome - in Jaws....
       


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: