Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

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I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Pearl Harbor: Three films

From <>
Promotional painting for the 1970 movie Tora! Tora! Tora!
by artist Robert McCall via Airport Journals
On the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mark Glancy looks at three films covering the Japanese raid on the US naval base on 7 December 1941...
“December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy,” declared President Roosevelt on the day after the Japanese attack on the main US naval base in the Pacific. Hundreds of Japanese planes took the base by surprise early that Sunday morning, sinking or disabling 21 warships, destroying nearly 200 planes, and killing over 2,000 people. It was a rude awakening for a country that had seemed determined to find its own path in the global conflict. Hollywood immediately seized on the topic in a number of low budget films about how America came to be ‘stabbed in the back’ by Japan. Since the war, the events of that fateful day have been dramatised on a much larger scale, but in strikingly different films.

1) From Here to Eternity (1953)
This is by far the most acclaimed and admired of all Pearl Harbor films. Its appeal lay, in part, in its timeliness: eight years after the end of the war, audiences were ready to look back without the flag-waving or moral certainties that characterise wartime films. Thus, in From Here to Eternity the attack on Pearl Harbor does not serve as the springboard for revenge scenarios or for exposés of Japanese treachery. Rather, it represents an awakening from the malaise and drift of the prewar period…

But is it accurate?
The film was based on a bestselling novel by James Jones, who served in the army and was stationed at Schofield Barracks, where the film is set, at the time of Pearl Harbor. Jones’s portrait of service life had to be toned down considerably for the film. The army would not agree to co-operate with the filmmakers unless it was portrayed more favourably. Hence, while Captain Holmes is actually promoted in the novel, in the film he is made to resign for his misdeeds. The Hollywood censors required prostitutes to be hostesses, brothels to be social clubs, and other elements of the Honolulu nightlife to be eliminated altogether.
Accuracy: 5/10
2) Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
In the midst of the Vietnam War, Twentieth Century Fox produced this ambitious, two-and-a-half hour semi-documentary account of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The film was intended as a warning against complacency in the Cold War and also as a means of affirming the current state of good relations between the USA and Japan…

But is it accurate?
Admiral Yamamoto (Soh Yamamura), who planned the attack, reflects in the ending on its potential consequences. Despite its immediate success, he gravely observes: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” This is the best line and the most memorable moment in the film, but there is no record that Yamamoto actually said it. A larger complaint would be that the film fails to set the conflict in a wider political context. Japan’s invasion of China and its alliance with Nazi Germany are mentioned, but in its eagerness to offer a balanced account, the film skates over these contentious points.
Accuracy: 7/10
3) Pearl Harbor (2001)
…The attack on Pearl Harbor is vividly recreated – in detail and at length – with computer generated effects that are entirely convincing. Hence, we see the mass of planes swoop in over the island, and a myriad of explosions, fires, and casualties as the action reaches a frenzied climax. The film’s signature shot – a bomb falls from a plane high above the harbour, descends through the air, and pierces the decks of the USS Arizona – is nothing short of spectacular…

But is it accurate?
The characters of Rafe and Danny are loosely – very loosely – based on two real army air force fliers, George Welch and Kenneth Taylor, who were stationed in Oahu and on their way home from an all-night poker game when the attack on Pearl Harbor began. They were quickly airborne and shot down seven of the attacking planes…
Accuracy: 3/10
To see full review of the films:
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