1941 (Collector's Edition)
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Spectacular is certainly the word for this utterly wild comedy epic directed by Steven Spielberg and nominated for three Academy Awards. Lavish effects sequences highlight this hilarious, all-star extravaganza set in Los Angeles just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when fear of a Japanese invasion threw the city into a state of Pandemonium. Screwball characters run wild on Hollywood Boulevard as manic servicemen, zealous store owners, teary-eyed girls and bickering Nazis are thrown together in this fast-rising comic souffle that even features a sendup of Spielberg's own Jaws opening.
Watching this director's cut, it's finally possible to see why the studio made Spielberg mercilessly hack up this comedy: it's a screaming movie (everyone screams a lot), and screaming movies do not need character development. So all those character-development scenes hit the cutting-room floor and, surprise, they were all critical to Spielberg's pace for the humor in this film. The screaming wasn't that funny then--and it still isn't--but what is funny are the reinserted development scenes, showcasing the now-evident sense of hysteria in the Los Angeles community, post-Pearl Harbor. A bunch of certified nitwits, and a few certified lunatics, act as if Tojo Hideki's entire Imperial force is just off the mainland. Actually, one Japanese submarine is, and it helps fuel the frenzy. John Belushi is Wild Bill Kelso, an insane fighter pilot, and Dan Aykroyd plays a conciliatory tank commander. Robert Stack's performance as General Stilwell, one of the best of the film, finally makes sense. Also fun for the numerous cameos, Spielberg's inside jokes, and John Williams's great score. --Keith SimantonSee all Editorial Reviews
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Top Customer Reviews
BUY 1941 and watch it. John Belushi gave a stellar performance as he did in National Lampoons Animal House and The Blues Brothers. 1941 is packed full of action and fun all the way through.
not like animal house or the blues brothers I've watched which was amazing ...both of those films I've seen at least 15 times each and they never get old..
im glade I only paid like 8 bucks for this movie ..odds are I might watch it one more time in my life and never again ..but if your a huge John Belushi fan or Dan Akroyed fan then buy this ..its still a decent movie
THE BEST PARTS. The following are the best parts, in my opinion.
(1) DANCING. Primarily, what had stood out for me was the massive jitterbug dancing contest. I liked that the most, because I took 3 months of jitterbug lessons, as well as 3 months of tap, in preparation to be a member of a clogging group. As a member of a clogging group based in Madison, WI, we performed at agricultural fairs and bluegrass festivals throughout the midwest.
(2) FERRIS WHEEL. Next, what I liked was the scene on the Ferris wheel with Eddie Deezen. In this scene, Mr. Deezen acts like an "uber-nerd." In this scene, or actually a cluster of related in scenes, a Japanese submarine fires on the Santa Monica pier amusement park thinking that it is an industrial complex, where the result is that the axle of the Ferris wheel is cut free from its support, and the Ferris wheel rolls slowly down the Santa Monica pier and plunges into the ocean.
(3) SLIM PICKENS. Third, I liked the scenes with Slim Pickens. Mr. Pickens earlier achieved fame in the movie Dr. Strangelove, where he dresses like a cowboy and cries "yee-haw" as he rides a hydrogen bomb that is dropped from a bomber. In the film 1941, Slim Pickens plays the character of a farmer, where his character's name is Hollis Wood. This fact results in an amusing scene involving the Japanese submariners, who capture Slim Pickens because they need guidance on finding a target to attack, such as Hollywood. "Where is Hollywood," asks the gruff Japanese commander. "You're looking at him," replies Hollis Wood. "Where is Hollywood," repeats the gruff Japanese commander. As part of this scene, Slim Pickens' box of Cracker Jack is opened, and inside is a prize, and the prize is a compass. The goal of the Japanese was to capture Slim Pickens to acquire guidance on how to find Hollywood, because of the fact that the submarine's compass had broken. But the Slim Pickens character is clever, and he quickly grabs the Cracker Jack prize and swallows it. Consequently, the Japanese force Slim Pickens to sit on the toilet for a day.
(4) DUMBO. Occupying a prominent part of the center of the film, is the episode where General Joseph Stilwell watches Dumbo in a movie theater. Stilwell is interrupted, now and then, by aids who inform him of the war situation in the Los Angeles area, but Stilwell asks that they leave him alone for the time being, so that he can enjoy Dumbo. In the famous scene where Dumbo's mother is locked up, Stilwell is shown crying with sadness. Many baby boomers, and certainly those from an earlier generation, have also cried during this scene.
RUNNING JOKES. Much of the film is occupied with running jokes. The plot of this film, which is generally occupied by massive amounts of commotion and slapstick, is that Treat Williams (handsome but arrogant) and Bobby Di Cicco (loveable and sincere) are both vying for the attention of the same girl (beautiful Dianne Kay). As part of this plot, a fat girl is in continual pursuit of Treat Williams. And so, there are periodic fights between Treat and Bobby, and periodic chase scenes, where the fat girl is after Treat, and Treat is after Bobby. One of the running jokes is that Treat Williams hate eggs as a food. Another running joke is a sub-plot, taking the form of a young woman who enjoys concupiscence, but only if it occurs in the cockpit of a flying airplane. Yet another running joke, or actually a form of amusing character presentation, is John Belushi's gruff persona.
CONCLUSION. This film will leave you breathless, with its continual slapstick, effective use of color, and over-the-top mock violence. To fully appreciate this movie, you need to have some training in jitterbug. That way, you will recognize many of the dance steps and dance floor maneuvers taking place. Also, to fully appreciate this movie, you need to have been a kid in the era when Crackerjack boxes contained prizes. Also to fully appreciate this movie, it is essential that the viewer (as an impressionable teenager) had already seen the film, Dumbo. To tell you the truth, I am not sure why anybody would have given this film less than five stars. 1941 is much, much, much, much better than another film to which it has been compared, namely, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
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