When you look at everything that went into the making of the film 1941, it has all the ingredients of being a huge hit. Yet, it wasn’t. It wasn’t a failure or flop. However, when you’re Steven Spielberg, you are held to a different level. That is the focus on this week’s episode of The Extended Play Movie Podcast. The disaster that was 1941.
The cast and crew of this World War II comedy, much in as Hogan’s Heroes was a comedy (ask your grandparents, kids), was set up for a comedy event of them all. Not only the talent in front of the camera, but everyone behind-the-scenes. Spielberg directing. Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale writing. John Williams scoring. John Millus producing and co-writing. Dan Ackroyd, John Belushi, John Candy, Treat Williams, Ned Betty, and the film debut of Mickey Rourke.
The film was designed to be a huge hit, but it failed to land. There are many reasons why the film failed to ignite, but there are many reasons it is actually a gem. By some conservative angles, it was deemed a poor, distasteful film about the American culture after the events of Pearl Harbor. Somehow this was an attempt to spit in the face of the service men and women that died for the good guys.
At the same time, the film is a mash up of true-life events that happened in various places around the country. So, it isn’t like they made it up on their own. Yes, by today’s hypersensitive standards it runs afoul on so many levels. However, when taken in context, it manages to make sense. This wasn’t a politically correct culture that fostered internment camps, Nazi sympathizers, and segregation in the military.
Spielberg himself has made jokes about the film. Citing halfway through production, he considered making the film a musical. That is an odd choice, but I would’ve liked to have seen that version. However, if you see the theatrical cut of the film, it is a better version. There is an “extended cut” which doesn’t serve to the benefit of the movie, but gives smaller characters bigger impact in the final cut.
So, put on your military dress uniforms and grab your best girl. Head over to the nearest USO dance hall and relax to The Extended Play Movie Podcast #57: 1941.
“Prevues of Coming Attractions” (HD Remaster) – RamtroStudios
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