Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


-1979 period comedy directed by Steven Spielberg
-The film is about a panic in the Los Angeles area about the sighting of a Japanese naval submarine just offshore right after the attack on Pearl Harbor

Did You Know?
-The scene where 'Wild Bill' Kelso slips and falls off the plane is a real accident.
-According to co-writer Bob Gale, many of the incidents in the movie are based on real incidents. The army really put an anti-aircraft gun on the yard of a homeowner in Maine, a Japanese sub shelled a refinery on the California coast, a false air raid siren went off in Los Angeles, making the citizens think the Japanese were attacking, and finally the famous 'Zoot Suit' riots in LA were in May and June 1943
-Mickey Rourke's film debut
-On Saturday, Dec. 13, 1941 at around 7:01 am, a car pulls up to a beach and a woman gets out. She is wearing a white robe that says "Polar Bear Club" on the back, meaning that she goes swimming in the winter. She goes swimming off the coast of California, only to run into a Japanese submarine surfacing under her. The crew realizes they are in Hollywood, and they submerge while the woman gets away fast
-Later on, a crew from the 10th Armored Division, consisting of Sgt. Frank Tree(Dan Aykroyd), Corp. Chuck Sitarski(Treat Williams), Privates Foley(John Candy), Reese (Mickey Rourke), and Henshaw, are at a restaurant where dishwasher Wally Stephens(Bobby Di Cicco) works. Wally is hoping to enter a dance contest with Betty Douglas(Dianne Kay), against the hopes of her dad Ward Douglas(Ned Beatty). Sitarski dislikes Wally almost immediately, and he trips him. A fight breaks out, leading Wally to get fired. Later, Wally takes his friend Dennis(Perry Lang)) shopping for zoot suits and steals a suit for him.

-In Death Valley, Major General Joseph W. Stilwell(Robert Stack) is trying to bring order to the city. He is at a press conference at Daugherty Air Field in Los Angeles. Captain Loomis Birkhead(Tim Matheson) is attracted to the beautiful secretary of the General's, Donna Stratten(Nancy Allen). He lures her into a bomber plane and tries to seduce her, but she warns him that her father was a Marine who taught her to defend heself. She knocks him out, but he lands on the bomb release lever, sending a bomb rolling across the runway towards the conference. Stilwell escapes right after saying "There will be no bombs dropped here."
-Later that afternoon, at the Douglas family home in Santa Monica, Wally is told by Betty and her friend Maxine(Wendie Jo Sperber), that they are both hostesses, meaning they can only dance with servicemen. Wally is forced to hide in a crawlspace above the car in the garage when Ward shows up. Soon, Tree and his crew show up with the delivery of an anti-aircraft gun. Sitarski sees Betty and is immediately attracted. He is ready to ask Betty to go to the dance with him when Wally falls from the crawlspace. Ward and Sitarski dump him into the arriving garbage truck.
-Meanwhile, out in the ocean, the Japanese sub becomes lost trying to find LA because the compass is broken. Commander Akiro Mitamura(Toshiro Mifune) orders a landing party be organized and they end up capturing Hollis "Holly" Woods(Slim Pickens), who only gives them his name, occupation and social security number. They see he has a small compass from a pack of Cracker Jacks, but he swallows it, escaping with the hopes of finding the cops
-Later that night, Stilwell goes to see the movie Dumbo. Birkhead and Donna are at the 51st Bomb Disbursement Unit in Barstow, where Colonel "Mad Man" Maddox(Warren Oates) shows them the unit's only aircraft. Maddox is convinced that the Japanese are parachuting into the hills and alfalfa fields near Pomona, and he lets Birkhead and Donna borrow the plane, assuming they are there to do reconnaissance.
-Outside the USO, Sitarski kicks Wally and drags Betty into the dance. Maxine tags along, and Wally sneaks in with a stolen uniform from a Shore Patrol officer. He steals Betty away and they end up winning the contest while evading Sitarski. He punches Wally and this starts a major fight between the various branches of the Armed Servicemen. Tree arrives with his crew, just as L.A. goes to Red Alert with an unknown aircrft in the skies. At the Doulgas home, however, Ward spots the sub from his deck. Birkhead and Donna fly over L.A., and anti-aircraft guns open fire. Kelso shoots Birkhead's plane thinking that it's a Japanese pilot, then he sees the submarine, only to have his plane shot down by 2 spotters in a ferris wheel who mistake his plane for a Japanese bomber.
-Sitarski drgas Betty under a tank, but Wally comes to her rescue. Thye find Kelso, who tells them that there is a Japanese sub in the coast. Wearing the uniform, Wally commandeers Tree's tank and heads towards the coast, to the Pacific Ocean Amusement Park. Ward opens fire at the sub with the gun, destroying his home in the process. The submarine returns fire, hitting the ferris wheel, which sends it careening down the pier into the ocean. When the tank comes on to the pier, it collapses. Kelso then drives a motorbike into the ocean, swimming towards the submarine.

-The next day, Sunda, Dec. 14, Stilwell arrives at what used to be the Douglas home. Tree thinks and tells Stilwell that 1942 will be "the really big year of the war". The General simply says "It's gonna be a 'long' war."

  • Dan Aykroyd as Motor Sergeant Frank Tree
  • Ned Beatty as Ward Douglas
  • John Belushi as Captain "Wild" Bill Kelso, U.S. Army Air Corps
  • Lorraine Gary as Joan Douglas
  • Murray Hamilton as Claude Crumn
  • Christopher Lee as Captain Wolfgang von Kleinschmidt
  • Tim Matheson as Captain Loomis Birkhead
  • Toshirō Mifune as Commander Akiro Mitamura
  • Warren Oates as Colonel "Madman" Maddox
  • Robert Stack as Major General Joseph W. Stilwell
  • Treat Williams as Corporal Chuck "Stretch" Sitarski
  • Nancy Allen as Donna Stratton
  • Eddie Deezen as Herbie Kazlminsky
  • Bobby Di Cicco as Wally Stephens
  • Dianne Kay as Betty Douglas
  • Slim Pickens as Hollis P. Wood
  • Wendie Jo Sperber as Maxine Dexheimer
  • Lionel Stander as Angelo Scioli
  • Jordan Brian as Macey Douglas
  • John Candy as Private First Class Foley
  • Perry Lang as Dennis DeSoto
  • Patti LuPone as Lydia Hedberg
  • Frank McRae as Pvt. Ogden Johnson Jones
  • Steven Mond as Gus Douglas
  • Michael McKean as Willy
  • John Landis as Mizerany
  • Mickey Rourke as Reese
  • Joe Flaherty as Raoul Lipschitz
  • Ignatius Wolfington as Meyer Mishkin
  • Lucille Benson as Gas Mama (Eloise)
  • Elisha Cook Jr. as The Patron (Dexter)
  • Susan Backlinie as Polar Bear Woman 

  • Production
    -The only American film in which Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune used both his Japanese speaking voice and English speaking voice

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