Today marks exactly 45 years since the release of the American-Japanese war film Tora! Tora! Tora! on September 23, 1970.
For Akira Kurosawa fans the film is notorious for the director’s long involvement in the production and especially for the way that this involvement came to an end with the film’s American production studio firing Kurosawa on Christmas Eve 1968 amidst circulating rumours of mental illness. This, and his earlier failure with Runaway Train, effectively ended Kurosawa’s hopes for a Hollywood career.
You can turn to part 8 of our Akira Kurosawa biography for a more detailed look at Kurosawa’s involvement with the film. And for even more details, you could check out Hiroshi Tasogawa’s excellent book All the Emperor’s Men: Kurosawa’s Pearl Harbor.
Below, you can find the film’s original trailer which asks more questions than it answers. Quite literally.
After Kurosawa left the production, the Japanese sequences were completed by Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku. Tora! Tora! Tora! was poorly reviewed and flopped at the US box office, but did all right overseas. Despite its critical and commercial failures, the film has attained something of a classic status and is especially warmly remembered for its impressive action sequences.
The Akira Kurosawa Online Film Club discussed Tora! Tora! Tora! last year.