War At Sea/Tank Commander 2 DVD Set
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War at Sea DVD
American Occupation Authorities confiscated all prints convinced the realistic special effects were actual Pearl Harbor Footage!
In 1942 the Japanese Imperial Navy ordered Toho, Japan's top studio, to make a "national policy film" commemorating the first year of the war against America. Chosen to direct The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya (Hawai-maree oki kaisen) was Kajiro Yamamoto, mentor of the great Akira Kurosawa. When Yoshi Tomoda enters the Navy Air Corps Pilot Training Group, Yamamoto deftly recreates his years of training. Japan goes to war with China and the European war begins. Yoshi, now a pilot, sets off in a powerful air armada. The date: December 8th, 1941 (still December 7th in America). The destination: Hawaii. Pearl Harbor. Japanese bombers sink the American ships in a firestorm of destruction that combines superb aerial sequences with detection-defying models and miniatures.
The War at Sea is an astonishing spectacle. It exceeded its budget of $380,000 at a time when most major Japanese pictures cost a mere $40,000. Toho released the film amidst unprecedented ballyhoo on December 8th, 1942, the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor. It later claimed that the picture had been seen by more than a hundred million people by the end of the war. Eiji Tsuburaya's special effects and miniature work were heralded as one of Japanese cinema's landmark achievements. A huge model of Pearl Harbor stretched across the Toho lot, and scale models of American ships floated in its pond. After the war, American occupying forces confiscated all prints of the film, convinced that what they'd seen was genuine battle footage. Special-effects wizard Tsuburaya gained international fame in the 1950s with his miniature cities that were destroyed by Godzilla in 1954.
The War at Sea, a notorious piece of war propaganda, was nevertheless the greatest big-budget spectacle ever seen on Japanese screens. Directed by Kajiro Yamamoto. Starring Denjiro Okochi, Yataro Kurokawa, Setsuko Hara, Kaoru Ito. Japan, 1942, B&W, 116 mins. Japanese dialogue, English subtitles.
Historical Background Factoids
Original Promotional Material Slideshows:
- Photo Gallery
- Film Kurier TAGESZEITUNG with English Translation
The Story of Tank Commander Nishizumi DVD
"The True Story of a Japanese War Hero - One of Japan's Finest War Films."
"Respect your parents and be loyal to the Emperor." This is the worldview from which he sprang-the traditional values that so often dominated prewar Japanese films. The Story of Tank Commander Nishizumi (Nishizumi senshacho-den) is a "humanist" war film based on the true story of Japanese war hero Kojiro Nishizumi. We follow him from his youthful ambition of following his father into the military through his war service in China. The Marco Polo Bridge incident in July 1937 leads to the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), the first act in the great conflagration known as the Second World War.
The picture is packed with exciting battle scenes, superbly staged by director Kouzaburou Yoshimura, who began his career at Shochiko Studios in 1929, where he worked as assistant director to the legendary Yasujiro Ozu before emerging as a major film director. Under Yoshimura's assured vision, the themes of benevolence and self-sacrifice are given as much weight as those of serving the Emperor and the glorification of war. Amidst all the killing, Nishizumi remains true to his code of honor, steadfastly governed more by the old ways than the new. Such humanitarian sentiments soon vanished from Japanese cinemas. The government's Office of Public Information, created in 1940, reflected the wishes of the military by imposing a strict, regimented code throughout the film industry, after which most Japanese war films more closely resembled those of Nazi Germany.
The Story of Tank Commander Nishizumi was a huge box-office hit and Shochiko's biggest money-maker of 1940. It remains one of Japan's finest war films.
Directed by Kouzaburou Yoshimura. Starring Shozaburo Abe, Munenobu Aburai, Shotaro Fujimatsu, Chiematsu Hanamura. Japan, 1940, B&W, 124 mins. Japanese dialogue, English subtitles.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES
- Historical Background Slideshow
- Photo Gallery
NTSC Region 0 encoding (Entire World)