on January 9, 2005
ATTENTION, ATTENTION!! NEW UPDATE February 20, 2014: Blu-Ray version MIDWAY......WITH SENSURROUND SOUND:
After all the Hoopla I did, eight years ago, on edited scenes and Sound, of the previous Mono version of Midway, that I had,
I finally, got myself to buy the newer, Blu-Ray version of Midway.
This newer version that came out last fall, has the original Sensurround Sound restored by Universal.
It sounds a lot better and is more enjoyable to watch with all the sound of gunfire and explosions.
It is still the edited version running at 2 hrs.12 min. minutes. But I have come to accept the fact that Universal
will never restore the deleted scenes I mentioned along with other reviewers.
But, at least, Universal was good enough to restore the Sensurround Sound on this Blu-Ray version, which I can, now, accept.
The thoughts of deleted scenes still linger, as I watch the movie, But, with this newly added Sensurround Sound,
I find that I enjoy the movie a lot more and I can set aside the deleted scenes.
There are Special Features which are worth watching, especially, on The Making of Midway.
Which explains how and why the director made this movie on Midway, which makes me appreciate Midway even more.
After reading some of the reviews regarding this Blu-Ray version with Sensurround, and much consideration in buying it,
I made up my mind to give it a try and buy it. I'm glad I did.
I would recommend this Blu-Ray version of Midway with the added Sensurround Sound.
OLD UPDATE: January 9, 2005 - I saw the movie play in a theatre and I was greatly impressed.
I still enjoy the movie BUT! at the same time I am disappointed.
When it was released first on VHS and now on DVD I was greatly disappointed to see how much film footage has been cut out from the original theatrical release.
In its original release MIDWAY ran for almost 2 hours 45 minutes.
On VHS and DVD it runs for 2 hours 10 minutes. What happened to all the othe extra scenes???
Where is the Battle of the Coral Sea which was shown in the original movie?
Furthermore they cut out the surround sound and made it Mono.
It is ridiculous that the have a Special Feature on Surround Sound, but the DVD was made in Mono sound.
And they call this DVD a Special Collector's Edition???
Come on Universal give us the full extended theatrical release along with 5.1 Surround Sound.
on January 6, 2006
Looks like they forgot to include the other hour and fifty minutes of the COLLECTORS EDITION !The sound is mono...yes mono!They forgot the movie portrays history!They also forgot that this is cinematic history as well.For years,I enjoyed watching this movie with my dad and brothers.It was one of the few subjects my dad and I could talk about for hours.Universal has short changed everyone looking to buy the four hour version.I hope they see the error of their ways by the poor sales of this version and begin to re-store the long sought after four hour version on dvd....they owe it to the veterans(of which,I am one),and history buffs.
on March 28, 2003
Having read that the "Collectors' Edition" DVD would include footage omitted from the theatrical release, I assumed that Universal Studios had finally awoken, smelled the coffee, and included the 30 minutes or so of footage of the Battle of the Coral Sea that one can see when one watches the television version of this film. No such luck. Instead, the studio compounds the mistake it made when it included the goofy and anachronistic "son's fiance" sub-plot by adding not the Coral Sea footage, but two utterly goofy and superfluous domestic scenes with C. Heston and his wife before he leaves for work. Who does Universal thinks watches this type of movie, anyway? If Universal wants to tap into the latent market for DVDs of this film (and in its full version, sans fiance, this IS a good film), they should do the obvious: 1) include in its entirety all the missing footage of the Battle of the Coral Sea (an important context for what follows), and 2) relegate to the status of out-takes all the scenes involving the son's fiance -- they don't ring true in the context of the film, and most people who like the rest of the movie delete them out of hand. There IS a market for a true "collectors' edition" of this film -- but this isn't it! Bring on the Coral Sea footage, drop the silly "son's fiance" subplot, and give us the DVD that many of us can't wait to buy but can only find at present on TV! Until the studio gets the message, I'd hold off on buying this release and stick to watching the complete film whenever it comes on TV.
I have seen "Midway" countless times, and find it impressive for many reasons: The many scenes that contain original war footage, the fabulous cast, and the degree of historical accuracy, which is exceptional for a Hollywood epic.
Some of the WWII footage is riveting, and is edited to blend in well with the 1976 cinematography by Harry Stradling Jr., which is also marvelous; a good score by John Williams also adds to the atmosphere, though mostly we hear the sounds that would have been heard at the time...the roar of the sea, the wind, and the exploding bombs.
Many of the fascinating figures of history are represented well, and a few brilliantly, like Hal Holbrook as Commander Joseph Rochefort, the man who intercepted and broke the codes. Holbrook's portrayal is much like the real man, who working many times 20 hour shifts in a bunker, was a little scruffy, and had crucial information that was an essential part of the battle plans.
Henry Fonda is great as Admiral Chester Nimitz, and other big stars include Glenn Ford, Robert Mitchum, Toshiro Mifune, James Coburn, Cliff Robertson and Robert Wagner. I love the way the battle is planed like a chess game by both American and Japanese leaders, moving little "boats" around on a big map, each side trying to outwit the other. It also lays out the basics of the battle and makes it fairly understandable for the non-military person.
Charlton Heston is terrific as Captain Matthew Garth, the fictional character in the script, who has to deal with his son (Edward Albert), in love with a Japanese-American girl (Christina Kokubo), who has been interned with her parents. This little bit of "romance" I imagine was included in the film to round out the "human interest", and though I could have lived without this non-historical addition, it is peripheral to the action.
Admiral Nimitz said that the Battle of Midway was "The battle that made everything else possible", and this film is an excellent way to get a feel for the momentous events of that time, with its heroism, tragedy, extraordinary battle tactics, and men who changed the course of history.
Total running time is 132 minutes.
on December 14, 2001
Why won't someone put out a complete version of this movie on DVD or even VHS. It is a much better movie when complete and you almost never see it that way. TNT seems to be the only one who shows it that way and they almost never do so, TBS and TCM also show it but in various cut down versions. If the people who put these DVDs and VHSs out are so fond of the cut down version, why not release a two DVD set with the cut and complete versions on it so us werdos who like to watch complete movies can get our fix.
on September 25, 1999
This film is very close to what did take place in June of 42.The actors did a good job of telling the story.The dvd version left out all of the Coral Sea battle and Charlton Heston's Matt Garth love interest along with the meeting between the young Japanese pilot and admiral Nagomo about the war and how Japan might loose it.Why all of this could not have been included into this version of the movie I do not know.Overall the quality of the dvd was very good.The audio was very clear and the video sharp and clean.It seems as though they even managed to keep the low bass of the Sensearound audio track.I found this dvd video a lot better then my vhs copy in quality.Overall worth the price and worth seeing again.
on October 31, 2012
Some reviewers fail to realize this. The version of Midway that is out on DVD and blu-ray IS the theatrical cut.
The added sequences, of the Coral Sea campaign and Charlton Heston trying to woo his girlfriend in between helping his son Tom and his participating in the pursuit of the Japanese carriers, were in the TV version, the version that re-enlisted the talents of director Jack Smight and the actors, plus some additions, like Mitchell Ryan as one of the commanders at Coral Sea. This is the version that was released some years after Midway's theatrical release in 1976. Because TV, prior to HDTV, was a 4x3 aspect ratio, the scenes shot for TV were also shot in 4x3, and the 1976 theatrical release of Midway was shot in 2.35:1 widescreen Panavision. There would have to be some substantial visual re-formatting (top-to-bottom cropping) of the TV scenes to re-format them and insert them into the 2.35:1 theatrical version, resulting in serious picture quality degradation and majorly increased grain in the TV scenes. That, to my mind, is the reason a "definitive" long cut, in widescreen, hasn't been released. Maybe, with today's digital film restoration technology, there is some way to restore some clarity to the 4x3 scenes, once cropped, for insertion into the 2.35:1 theatrical version scenes, to restore a "super" long cut of Midway for a future blu-ray release.
To the "no surround???" question: Sensurround, the pre-Dolby Stereo process that made you feel, as closely as possible, "you are there" was a MONO process, that merely added a deep bass (.1) track to the monaural signal. The deep bass of Sensurround is in fact here, evidenced right away in the opening credits Tokyo bombing.
While Universal did create a pseudo-stereo/surround for the DVD release of their earlier produced-in-Sensurround spectacle, Earthquake, apparently, they skimped here. I for one would certainly pay for an expanded STEREO SURROUND Sensurround release of Midway!
That said, this is an excellent movie. I could've done without the subplot involving Charlton Heston's character's son Tom falling in love with a Japanese girl and her being accused of subversion by the FBI. It's obviously an attempt by producer Walter Mirisch and his writers to transform Midway into a "chick flick" as well as a "dude flick", entice all the ladies to come see it, to boost box office receipts and recoup his investment, which, considering the list of high-caliber male stars, was substantial. This subplot also makes things more personal when Tom is badly burned in his cockpit in aerial combat and crashes on the aircraft carrier with his dad Heston right there, which is good. But this subplot has the bad side-effect of slowing things down a bit in the first act, comes off a bit like a soap-opera, and I find myself hitting the fast-forward button to skip right over this material to get right to the battle strategies and combat scenes, to make Midway tighter and more of a straight-line adventure.
Highly recommended for history buffs and action afficionados alike. The "chess game", played by the commanders on both the Japanese and American sides, is fascinating. The film also accurately illuminates the role that chance and luck played. Who knows how the battle would have went if the Japanese plane's radio operator's radio had actually been working so he could send a message to the Japanese fleet and tell the commanders how many U.S. ships were actually there? Who knows how the battle would have gone if the Japanese had clearer weather on the way to Midway Island? And Hal Holbrook's character, Commander Roachford in Intelligence, confirming that Objective AF is Midway Island by having Midway's radio operator transmit a fake message that Midway's fresh water condensor has broken down, is a stroke of genius!
on May 29, 2004
A good friend of mine (and a contemporary) rode in the backseat of a dive bomber at the battle of midway. He's dead now, like three quarters of the men who fought in World War Two. Can you imagine riding backwards in a dive while the people below are doing their best to kill you? Unless you've been there, probably not.
This is, historically, one of the most accurate portrayals of the war. One critic complained that "the writing was weak. There was no suspense at all in the film." Perhaps there'd have been enough suspense if he'd been there, like Bill. But Bill survived the battle and died of old age, so I can't ask him about whether he felt any suspense, although we talked a lot about the battle of Midway.
In the film, they used top notch actors. For "Bull" Halsey they used Mitchum. Not a look alike, but of course Bull's dead, too, and Mitchum did a good job. Heston, of course, represented a fictional character (Matt Garth), but virtually all of the names of people in the film were real men who fought a real battle, and it was the turning point of the war. After Midway, we took a lot of lumps, but they were on the run from that point on.
Of course Hollywood took some liberties, and since they used a lot of actual combat shots, some of the aircraft used were out of place (F6F "Hellcats" for F4F "Wildcats" several times, and the ditching scene where Ensign George Gay went in showed a "Hellcat" instead of the TBD Douglas torpedo bomber that he actually flew. And the shot of the "Hellcat" being torn apart on the carrier's island was well-known footage from the technicolor documentary, The Fighting Lady, which was shot on the old Enterprise during battle, with narration by Lt. Robert Montgomery (qv). Garth's (Heston's) fictional son was supposed to be flying it in the film, but it was an actual crash on board the "Big E", in an actual battle. "Hellcats" (F6F) were Grumman fighter planes (the big brother of the "Wildcat" (F4F) which was obsolescent when the war started, but in use at the Battle of Midway--as was the old Brewster "Buffalo") and the F6F never saw combat until late 1943 (on my birthday, as a matter of fact.) The battle of Midway was in June of 1942, six months after Pearl Harbor.
It helps when you know a little history. For instance, Ensign George Gay actually did ride out the battle in the water, after he ditched, and was debriefed personally by the commander-in-chief, pacific fleet (CINCPAC), Admiral Chester Nimitz. He was the only survivor of his torpedo squadron, VT-8 (torpedo squadron 8).
Altogether, when you see this picture, you are watching history (as near as Hollywood will ever get to it), and many of the people who died to entertain today's movie audiences are named in the movie.
So, try to overlook the lack of a plot, at least in the battle sequences. History wrote them, not Hollywood script writers.
Joseph (Joe) Pierre, USN (Ret)
author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
and other books
on April 2, 2009
I had watched this version when I first got it but must have missed the missing Coral Sea parts for some reason. It jumps from the scene where Rochfort has told Garth about Operation AF (Coral Sea) to where they are telling Rochfort that they had a rough time at the battle!
Some really great scenes are missing in this verison. Hope that they release a full version sometime soon. Its a shame that this movie was so downgraded from the original.
Bottom line: dont waste your money. Wait, wait, wait for them to put out the Full "Real" Collector's Edition.
I note that the "added for TV" scenes seem to be more personal and probably added for the ladies but weren't they in the theater version too? I seem to remember seeing the scene with Garth and his girlfriend talking at their apartment before he leaves in theater. Perhaps age is starting to show ... in me! :)
on June 12, 2013
I saw this film first run when it was released in Academy Award winning Sensurround (see photo above with product). I have to admit that is my original reason for seeing it. Now released on blu ray with the Sensurround audio it looks and feels even better than it did when I saw it first run. Besides the Sensurround aspect it is a very good movie as well. As mentioned in many other review's it uses a lot of stock footage. I have not seen any other movies about this battle so I can not compare films; but I really enjoyed this one.
It has an all star cast including Toshiro Mifune whose voice is dubbed. It is dubbed very well but I think it would have been better with sub titles. Besides so many Hollywood actors (Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda)..; many television actors appear as well, such as Kevin Dobson (Knots Landing), Tom Selleck (Magnum PI)and Erik Estrada (CHIPS).
The only weak link I think is the romance between Edward Albert and Christina Kokubo, but it does show how Japanese Americans were treated after Pearl Harbor.
Unlike Earthquake, which has also just been released on blu ray with the Sensurround soundtrack, it has the deleted scenes that were shown on the television version. They are all with Charlton Heston and Susan Sullivan (Falcon Crest, Another World), as an added feature. This release has nothing new from the last dvd release.
There were four films released in the Sensurround process: Earthquake, Midway, Rollercoaster and the premiere of the television series Battlestar Gallactica. Earthquake will always be my favorite out of the four, but I think overall this one is the best.