Monday, February 28, 2011

The Battle of Midway (1942)

Back in WWII, Director John Ford was just like any raw recruit who took to arms to defend his nation. That's right, just like any 50 year old recruit. His job: Shoot the enemy. That is to say, film the enemy shooting us. He got that opportunity during the famous battle of Midway. The result is an 18 minute documentary short.

In said documentary, Ford filmed service men, sea birds, enemy aircraft, more soldiers, while liberal Hollywood types like Henry Fonda narrate, pretending to be red-blooded real Americans. For this, Ford won the Oscar for Best Documentary.

Currently I'm at risk of spending more time typing this than I did watching it, so let me sum up like this: Ford was in the right place at the right time (maybe too right - he was wounded while filming) and this struck a nerve. Adding actor voices was an interesting technique. I wonder if the stories and names were accurate. Still, the Jingoistic hoopla was a little bit much. It came off tasting a bit of corn. I'll forgive the amateurish look because the technology of the day and the extreme difficulty of the circumstance. A little surprising that it won an Oscar, but an interesting piece none the less. AMRU 3.

Apparently Tojo is a reference to a Japanese soldier. I am told it's derogative, but who gives terms of endearment to enemy soldiers?

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