sin city

Just attempting to spot a minuscule glimpse of Mickey Rourke in this comedic parody is comparable in chance of finding a tiny needle in a huge haystack. This 1979 released film is like a big-screen version of a "Where's Waldo?" book for viewers who wish to see Rourke act. There's no raiding the ice box, lavatory break or even blinking during "1941". You could subject yourself to missing the whole she-bang in it's entirety 
Steven Spielberg's monumental comedy, based on a true incident, about the war panic that erupted in Southern California after a Japanese sub was spotted off the coast six days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Stars John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Ned Beatty, Nancy Allen, Robert Stack and many others; written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale ("Back to the Future"). 118 min. Widescreen Director's Cut; Soundtrack: English; "making of" documentary; home movies; behind-the-scenes footage; deleted scenes; storyboard comparison; publicity materials; theatrical trailers; scene access.

Steven Speilberg's epic comedy of a hysterical California town that believes it's about to be invaded by the Japanese in 1941 (1979) is an underrated gem. From it's opening sequence with Susan Blacklinie parodying her nude swim from Jaws (1975) to the everything-must-be-blown-up finale, this movie turned up the humor to eleven. Starring nearly every funny man still working in the town of tinsel.    

US Theatrical Release: 12/14/1979
US DVD Release: 03/29/1999
Comedy, War
Not labeled a bad movie really, just kind of messy, 1941 is that old story: a film-maker given too much money, too much freedom and too hard an act to follow. Spielberg slipped up with this Second World War action comedy, which forefronts Aykroyd and Belushi as well as a host of old faces. The action is incoherent and the comedy diffuse. A botched opportunity, but considering it's sandwiched between Close Encounters and Raiders, you gotta give the man a break!

Richard Matthews


1941 (1979)

Rating: 2/5 GOATS

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, John Milius
Cinematography William Fraker
Starring Toshiro Mifune, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, Robert Stack, Treat Williams, Bobby DiCicco, Nancy Allen
Running Time

It aims at screwball comedy . There are hundreds of characters running around and bumping into each other. There are a few good laughs, along with a bunch of uncomfortably bad jokes. It was one of the most expensive comedies ever made, which is apparent by looking at all the explosions and tanks crashing into walls. It was Steven Spielberg's first real failure, following on the heels of such films as Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and you could say that it taught him a lesson. I saw a documentary on Spielberg where he discussed the point at which he realized that he had lost control of the production and was in over his head.

The plot, what plot there is, revolves around the sighting of a Japanese submarine off the coast of California in 1941, during World War II. The sub is piloted by Japanese film great Toshiro Mifune, who starred in many of Akira Kurosawa's greatest films, and it is sad that the only way a lot of Americans would ever see him is in this junk. The film features few major roles; it's mostly a series of cameos revolving around a few storylines. One involves Ned Beatty's house being used as the site for an artillery base. Another involves John Belushi as a psychotically unfunny pilot. Yet another involves Robert Stack as an inept general. A final one involves Treat Williams and Bobby DiCicco as they fight over a love interest (Nancy Allen).

Even good directors miss every once in a while. This was Spielberg's big miss. He thinks that maybe Americans weren't ready to laugh at war, since the film was released so soon after the end of the Vietnam war. I think it had more to do with the fact that nobody was ready to laugh at such a relentlessly unfunny movie. He followed it with the wonderful 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, so I guess this was a valuable learning experience for him.

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