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Pearl Harbor: Waking the Sleeping Giant [DVD]
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Overview

Synopsis

Appointment in Tokyo
This inspiring 54-minute WWII documentary covers the entire American Pacific campaign from the Bataan retreat to the surrender of Japan. Many of the film's more unforgettable scenes, notably the rape of Manila, have been culled from captured Japanese newsreels. The "star" of the proceedings is General Douglas MacArthur, who after three years of relentless fighting makes good his promise "I shall return." Only occasionally does the film falter by lapsing into phony sentimentality. Appointment in Tokyo was assembled by the Army Pictorial Service of the US Signal Corps, and released domestically by Warner Bros. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The World at War
Screenwriter Sam Spewack was the guiding force behind this 66-minute U.S. Government documentary. Unlike other films of its ilk, The World at War does not explore the causes of WWII; rather, it concentrates on a recitation of places, dates and events, with emphasis on pre-Pearl Harbor American isolationism. There is the suggestion that Japan was largely responsible for the present world conflict, hardly the case but an understandable assumption in the wake of the sneak attack on December 7, 1941. The Nazis and Italian fascists are also raked over the coals via newsreel clips of the invasions of Ethiopia, Austria, Munich, Czechoslovakia and the rest. The World at War was narrated by Paul Stewart, a graduate of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Fleet That Came to Stay
Memories of War
Jonathan S. Felt's documentary Memories of War chronicles a meeting between Japanese and American World War II veterans, who come together in Texas to reminisce and view an air show featuring vintage-era planes. The film shares many of the stories that bring human faces to these occasionally inhuman events. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

We Take New Guinea
Narrated by Ronald Reagan, the documentary We Take New Guinea offers footage of American troops capturing key islands during World War II that led ultimately to the successful invasion of New Guinea. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Payoff in the Pacific
The documentary chronicles the battles that followed the Japanese defeats at New Guinea, Guadalcanal, and the Central Pacific. Particular attention is paid to MacArthur's return to the Philippines, thus fulfilling his famous promise to return in triumph to the scene of his greatest humiliation. ~ Rob Ferrier, Rovi

The Stilwell Road
This World War II documentary, narrated by actor (and future U.S. President) Ronald Reagan, focuses on the China-India-Burma front of the war. The Stillwell Road (named after American General Joseph Stillwell, whose idea it was) was an engineering marvel whose purpose was to truck supplies to the Chinese army fighting the Japanese in China. It started in India, cut through the almost impenetrable jungles and mountains of Burma, and ended in China. ~ Brian Gusse, Rovi

Decisive Victory
Attack! The Battle for New Britain
Subtitled The Battle for New Britain, this 56-minute documentary was assembled by the Office of War Information. Lensed in the Southwest Pacific, the film deals with the efforts to recapture the island of New Britain from the Japanese. After a grueling training period (shown in unsparing detail), the Allied forces launch their three-pronged assault of the island. Despite heavy losses, the victory goes to the Americans and British. Released domestically by RKO Radio, Attack! was released in conjunction with the O.W.I's fifth war loan drive. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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