BBC - Mark Kermode's film blog

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Ben Hur & Tora! Tora! Tora! True classics

My movie enlightments have continued over the chritmas break - I'm aiming to watch films made before 1980 whenever possible I chose 2 true epics in the last 2 days:

Ben Hur
Ben-Hur (1959) is MGM's three and a half hour, wide-screen epic Technicolor blockbuster - a Biblical tale, subtitled A Tale of the Christ(
It stars Charlton Heston and is directed by William Wyler

Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur is betrayed by his childhood pal, who gets him thrown in the galleys. He escapes, gets adopted by a Roman captain and returns to confront his betrayer. (Empire Magazine)

It changed my view of Charlton Heston who's performance is one of the strongest I've ever seen - I feel it is a sign of a great actor who can flip your opinion of them through one performance.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

This 25-million dollar epic collaboration accurately recreates the events that led to the Japanese attack on the American naval base during World War II. With Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, the wheels are set in motion by Japan to plan the attack. After internal differences in the government, the Japanese quickly mobilize plans for the assault. Key American personnel ignored warnings of the possibility of Japanese aggression. The first part of the film divides scenes from both countries. Part two contains spectacular battle scenes of the bombing that destroyed the American naval base of operations in Hawaii. Governmental errors on both sides add to the confusion, but the Japanese ultimately carry out the deadly mission.

At the time of its initial movie release, Tora! Tora! Tora! proved to be a major box office flop in U.S. theatres although it was a major hit in Japan; however, over the years, video releases provided an overall profit.

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