Pearl Harbour By: Baik Gi Won, Celine Chong, Elyssa Lee, Jean Ng, Liu Aofei, Mao Haitong, Nico Teo
background: • Pearl Harbour is a 2001 American action war film directed by Michael Bay and produced by Bay, long-time partner Jerry Bruckheimer and Randall Wallace. The movie is a dramatic reminiscence of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour Naval Base and the subsequent Doolittle Raid during World War II in conjunction with the complicated love story of the three main characters, Rafe, Danny and Evelyn.
Background: • Despite receiving negative reviews from critics, Pearl Harbour became one of the highest-grossing films of 2001.The movie won the award for Sound Effects Editing at the 2002 Academy Awards. At the 2001 Golden Raspberry Awards Pearl Harbour was nominated for six awards: Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Screen Couple, Worst Actor (Ben Affleck), and Worst Remake or Sequel.
Main characters in the film: • -RafeMcCawley, a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps, is a childhood friend of Danny Walker and a lover of Nurse Evelyn Johnson. He voluntarily serves the British Royal Air Force and after being shot down over the English Channel, he is presumed dead in action. However, he returns alive on 6th December 1941 only to discover the love relationship that developed between Evelyn and Danny. After returning from the top-secret mission to Japan, Rafe marries Evelyn and raises Danny, a child between Evelyn and Danny, as his own.
… • -Danny Walker, a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps, is a childhood friend of RafeMcCawley and also a lover of Nurse Evelyn Johnson. He falls in love with Evelyn after the presumed death of Rafe. During the top-secret mission to Japan, when captured by the Japanese soldiers, Danny gets shot while trying to protect Rafe. Danny dies, asking Rafe to be the father of his unborn child with Evelyn.
… • -Nurse Evelyn Johnson, a Navy nurse, who meets Rafe during his physical examination and falls in love with him. However, after Rafe’s presumed death, she gradually falls in love with Danny and becomes pregnant. When Danny dies during a mission, she marries Rafe.
… • The characters of Rafe and Danny are loosely based on 2nd Lt. George Welch and 2nd Lt. Kenneth M. Taylor, but a great deal of the details of their real exploits during the battle has been changed. • Welch and Taylor did race in a Buick to Wheeler Airfield, and they were the first two pilots off the ground during the attack. Between them, Welch and Taylor claimed at least six of the 29 Japanese aircraft lost during the Pearl Harbor attack However, this is where the similarities end. Welch and Taylor were not involved in a love triangle and did not go on the Doolittle Raid.
Battle of Britain • July – October 1940 • Air campaign of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) against the Royal Air Force • Objective: gain air superiority in the British Isles so as to invade Britain (Operation Sea Lion) • In the end, due to tactical errors and British resistance, Germany retreated and failed to achieve its objectives • Considered to be one of the turning points in WWII – first time Germany did not succeed
Attack on Pearl harbour • December 7, 1941 • Surprise military strike conducted by Imperial Japanese Navy against US Naval Base at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii • A major engagement of WWII, and great shock to the Americans • Caused domestic support for isolatism which had been strong to disappear • US declared war on Japan the next day, entering WWII, bringing the US into active alliance and full participation in the European Theatre
Attack on Pearl harbour • The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the US Pacific Fleet from influencing the war that the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia, against Britain and the Netherlands, as well as the U.S. in the Phillipines. • Destroyed important American fleet units • Delivered a severe blow to morale as those ships were the prestige ships of any navy at that time
Attack on Pearl harbour • Also said by many to be retaliation for cutting off their much needed supply of oil • The base was attacked by Japanese aircraft (a total of 353, in two waves) launched from six aircraft carriers • Damage: 4 US Navy Battleships sunk, 4 more damaged; three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, one minelayer, and188 U.S. aircraft destroyed; 402 personnel were killed and 1,282 were wounded
Attack on Pearl harbour • Japanese losses were light, with 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded, with only one Japanese sailor captured • The Americans had deciphered Japan's code earlier and knew about a planned attack before it actually occurred. However, due to difficulty in deciphering intercepted messages, the Americans failed to discover Japan's target location before the attack occurred
Doolittle raid • April 18, 1942 • First air raid by the United States to strike the Japanese Home Islands (Honshu) during World War II • Demonstrated that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack • Exploited a vital psychological need to boost American Morale and to cause the Japanese to begin doubting their leadership
Doolittle raid • Opportunity for U.S. retaliation after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour • As the US lost its air bases in the Philippines, and sending the few remaining aircraft carriers to within strike range from Japan was much too risky • A young Navy officer suggested to attack Japan with medium bombers which would take-off from an aircraft carrier
Doolittle raid • Sixteen U.S. Army Air Forces B-25B Mitchell medium bombers were launched from the U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS Hornet deep in the Western Pacific Ocean • The plan called for them to bomb military targets in Japan, and to continue westward to land in China, as it was impossible to land a medium bomber on the Hornet
Doolittle raid • Takeoff was scheduled for April 19 in the afternoon, but in April 18, 1942, at dawn, the task force was detected by a Japanese patrol boat. It was quickly sunk by one of the cruisers, but it was correctly assumed that their presence was already reported to Tokyo. • Japanese wartime documents reveal that the Japanese patrol boat did report that it met an American carrier group, but the report was ignored in disbelief
Doolittle raid • The first bomb landed in Tokyo. The raid was reported back to Washington as a success and to increase Japanese confusion, president Roosevelt declared that the bombers that struck Japan took off from Shangri-La, a mythological place in the Himalayas. • The aircraft sent to bring their reception team and the homing beacon crashed a day earlier, so all but one crew parachuted or crash-landed in various places in China that night.
Doolittle raid • All of the aircraft involved in the bombing were lost and 11 crewmen were either killed or captured—with several of the captured men executed by the Japanese Army in China • In retaliation, the Japanese military began the Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign to intimidate the Chinese from helping downed American airmen, killing an estimated 250,000 civilians while searching for Doolittle's men
Doolittle raid • The raid caused negligible material damage to Japan, but it succeeded in its goal of boosting American morale, and casting doubt in Japan of the ability of the Japanese military leaders • Forced Japan to withdraw its powerful aircraft carrier force from the Indian Ocean to defend their Home Islands • Contributed to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's decision to attack Midway which turned into a decisive rout of the Japanese Navy by the U.S. Navy near Midway Island in the Central Pacific.
GENERAL • Got the dates and order of events right • Attempted to make the events more realistic • used WWII vintage aircrafts in the filming of the 7 December attack • Filmed at actual locations on O’ahu such as Ford Island, Fort Shafter and Pearl Harbour • Consulted historians, military and survivors in both the US and Japan in practically every aspect of the story (though whether they actually followed their research was another thing altogether)
NAVY Nurses • Portrayed as war heroes • Movie: Collected their badges near the end of the film • Historical: Nurses were indeed held high in regard during the war itself • Used primitive means to mark the incoming wounded • Movie: Used lipstick to mark their foreheads and Coke bottles to hold their blood • Historical: Then Navy Nurse Lenore Terrell Rickert says that they did anything they could, unsanitary or not, to speed up things
Japanese • Depicted the Japanese as heroic • Movie: They showed the Japanese taking the war preparations very seriously, and how the pilots were ready to sacrifice themselves for the good of their country • Historical: The Japanese had a formality about what they did
Dorie miller (the cook’s helper) • Movie: He used a gun to shoot down one of the Japanese fighter planes, and was awarded a medal for his efforts • Historical: • He was the first African-American to win the Navy Cross after gunning down a plane, even though he hadn’t been trained in machine gun use • He was a cook’s helper during the war
Battle scenes • US Navy was misinformed that they were going to war • They were caught off-guard when the Japanese attacked, they thought it was just a drill • Historical: The Japanese indeed sprang a surprise attack on the Americans in the wee hours of 7 December 1941 • Only two US airmen shot down Japanese planes during the attack • Movie: Rafe and Danny • Historical: Lt. Kenneth Taylor and George Welch shot down 6-10 Japanese planes between them
Plots/events • The scenes early in the film are dated 1923, yet Danny's father is a crop duster, an occupation which didn't exist until after the war. • Rafe McCawley has volunteered to join an RAF Eagle Squadron. In reality however, this could not happen. • Until December 7, 1941, active duty US military personnel can not serve with a belligerent nation whilst the US was neutral. Rafe would have had to resign from the US Army Air Corp and re-enlist into the RAF.
Plots/events • When Rafe first meets Evelyn, she is assessing whether or not he is fit to fly. However, at no time during the war did nurses in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corp assess whether pilot candidates in the U.S. Army Air Corps could fly. The Navy Nurse Corp and the Army Air Corp have no connection whatsoever.
Plots/events • Nurse Betty claims to be 17 years old, saying she lied about her age to be accepted into the Navy Nurse Corps. However, Navy Nurses were required to be registered nurses to join the Navy Nurse Corps, which meant three years of prior training as well as passing a state board examination. As such, Betty would have had to have become a nurse at age 14 for her age of 17 to ring true.
Plots/events • In the film, Admiral Kimmel is portrayed as a vigilant leader certain of an imminent attack on his base, and doing everything in his power to try to convince Washington of its inevitability. However, most historians tell us that Kimmel received several warnings about a possible attack on Pearl Harbour, but dismissed them. Kimmel did receive this report about an hour before the Japanese planes arrived (as portrayed in the film), but he chose not to go to general quarters due to the fact that there had been a number of false sub sightings in recent months, and he wanted to confirm the Ward's report before acting on it (which is not how he reacts in the movie)
Plots/events • In the film, Admiral Kimmel is shown receiving the message which revealed that the Japanese government had ordered the destruction of all coding equipment. In reality, this message was never communicated to Kimmel. • Kimmel was not on a golf course on the morning of the attack, nor was he notified of the Japanese embassy leaving Washington, D.C. prior to the attack. The first official notification of the attack was received by General Short several hours after the attack had ended.
Plots/events • At one point during the battle, Danny says "I think World War II just started." This makes little sense, as: • In 1941, World War I was still called The Great War; it wasn't officially called World War I until 1948, so the term 'World War II' had no meaning at the time of the Pearl Harbour attack. • World War II did not begin with Pearl Harbour. American involvement began with the attacks, but the European portion of the war had been going on since 1939, when Germany invaded Poland.
Plots/events • According to Rafe, the American P-40s can't outrun the Japanese Zeros, so they had to outfly them. Both of these claims are inaccurate. The P-40 can outrun a Zero with ease, but a Zero is much more manoeuvrable than a P-40. • In fact, the standard tactic for American and Allied pilots, from the AVG (Flying Tigers) in late-1940 through 1941 and the Pacific War, was basic "hit-and-run." They would dive on Zeroes, get what "hits" they could, and then outrun them.
Plots/events • Nurse Betty dies during the Pearl Harbor attack, but no Navy Nurses died as a result of enemy action during the entirety of World War II, including the attack on Pearl Harbour • In the film, 11 "Zero" fighters were destroyed or downed. In reality, only nine Zero fighters were destroyed by any means (i.e. anti-aircraft guns, planes) in the real bombing of Pearl Harbour.
Plots/events • Doris Miller (the black cook)’s heroism in the Pearl Harbour attack has been exaggerated. In the movie, he comforts Captain Bennion, who has been mortally wounded by a torpedo striking his ship, and is with him when he dies. Miller delivers the Captain's last orders to the ship's executive officer and then mans a machine gun. In reality, Miller picked him up after he was wounded (by fragments when one of the Tennessee's gun turrets exploded) and attempted to carry him to a first-aid station. The Captain refused to leave his post and remained on the bridge and continued to direct the battle until he died of his wounds just before the ship was abandoned. While Miller did man an antiaircraft gun, he was never credited with any kills (as opposed to the one shown in the film). Apparently he did not even know how to shoot the gun.
Plots/events • Upon hearing of the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt laments that the attack occurred "with our entire fleet at anchor". In reality, the aircraft carriers (which were the real target of the attack) were not at Pearl Harbour on December 7. • The scene where Roosevelt demands that the Army and Navy find a way to strike back at Japan but is told by Admiral Nimitz and General George Marshall that such an attack is impossible is fictitious, as in reality, Nimitz and Marshall were as much advocates of striking back directly at Japan as was Roosevelt himself.
Plots/events • The scene where the polio-crippled Roosevelt miraculously stands up is also completely fabricated. Without braces on his legs, Roosevelt could barely stand, much less, walk. • In the film, Lt. Col. Doolittle recruits Rafe, Danny, Red and Gooz to fly on the Raid. However these four men are single-engined fighter pilots who would not have been qualified to fly multi-engined bombers (such as the B-25 Mitchell). In reality, the Doolittle Raiders all came from the 17th Bombardment Group (Medium) from South Carolina. No one participated in both the Pearl Harbor attack and the Doolittle Raid.
Plots/events • During the Doolittle Raid, the pilots' radio transmissions can be heard in Pearl Harbor. From such a distance, this would have been impossible in 1942. • Only a few military leaders and planners knew about the raid, and President Roosevelt himself did not receive a detailed briefing until a few days before the attack. The world learned about it only when Japanese radio broadcast the news.
Props/set • Rafe and Evelyn use a winch to raise themselves up alongside the RMS Queen Mary, which is clearly seen in its original Cunard colors. However, in 1939 the Queen Mary had been painted battleship gray in preparation for it being fitted out to serve as a troop carrier for the Royal Navy. As such, the scene (set in mid-1941) should have depicted the ship with its gray colors rather than Cunard colors.
Props/set • During Dorie Miller's boxing match, a sailor can be seen betting with a $5 bill with the "Hawaii" overprint on it. This was a special World War II currency with the word 'Hawaii' overprinted on the front and back, and the serial numbers and seal changed from green to brown, done so that the currency could be declared worthless if there was a Japanese invasion. These notes were not issued until July 1942, seven months after the attack on Pearl Harbour.
Props/set • During the pan-view shots of the Battle of Britain, the British Spitfires were shown flying in the American-style four-ship formation (left). The British actually flew in three-ship, or VIC formation (right).
Props/set • At the time of the attack, the battleships in "Battleship Row" were tied directly together, not spaced 50 yards apart as they were in the movie.
What did they hope to achieve from the audience? Filmmaker’s intention
FILM AS A HISTORICAL FICTION • To describe the two historical event, Attack of Pearl Habour and the Doolittle Raid • Recreate the events for audience’s easy sampling • As an historically accurate dramatic portrayal of the events • Bay wanted to graphically portray the horrors of war and was not interested in primarily marketing the final product to a teen and young adult audience
“Well, what I think it will do is spark people’s interest to research what happened at Pearl Harbor, so they can again find out the truth and the nuances that we couldn’t put in a two-hour-plus movie. • I think it creates interest in a fascinating subject. Hopefully kids who don’t know about it will get interested and want to read more about. • We do tell the story of Pearl Harbor, of course, but we do it in a very short, abridged version, the CliffsNotes version. But it is there, and I think kids will get into it. I think a lot of them will look at it and say, Did that really happen? And it did. It happened.”- Jerry Bruckheimer, co-producer
“So what we do is we suck the audience in. We lure them into that just idyllic lifestyle. All these men and women of that time talk about this idyllic lifestyle. ” – Michael Bay, director and co-producer • “I hope that they understand what happened and they understand what this meant to America and that we’re not invincible. It’s interesting.” –Michael Bay, director and co-producer
“The story should begin in America’s isolationism and end with America’s coming back from the ashes. I said it was like Doctor Zhivago, where you have the Russian revolution, but you’re not fascinated by the historical context. You’re not trying to tell the history. You’re fascinated by the human dimensions of courage and sacrifice and pain and how this historical event affects a human life. What makes an event interesting is telling it through the context of people.” – Randall Wallace, screenwriter