1941 [DVD] [1979]

  • SKU: 3562512
  • Release Date: 03/23/1999
  • Rating: PG
After the back-to-back smashes of Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steven Spielberg tried his hand at comedy with this loud, chaotic wartime comedy. The end result has long been dismissed as the blackest mark on the director's record. This DVD edition from Universal will allow people to judge for themselves. The film, a restored director's cut clocking in at two hours and 26 minutes, looks great, presented in a widescreen format with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Spielberg expertly captured the tone and look of 1940s California, and this DVD lets viewers luxuriate in it; however, they can't relax for long, as the sound has been remixed to a ground-shaking Dolby Digital 5.1. Every crashing plane, roaring anti-aircraft gun, and collapsing house sounds as if it's happening next door. Where the disc really takes off is with the extras. First up is an encyclopedic documentary that runs 100 minutes and gives every detail of the film's making. There are loads of anecdotes (including John Wayne's and Charlton Heston's refusal to act in the film, seeing it as unpatriotic), Spielberg's own home movies, and some reflections on the end result by the film's creators, many of whom (such as Robert Zemeckis ) went on to great success. Also included is a collection of promotional artwork and selected reviews from critics (few of which are favorable). Additionally, there are deleted scenes, trailers, production photographs, and production notes. One feature that deserves mentioning, only for how odd it is, is titled "Comic Relief" -- a collection of production stills with (supposedly) humorous voice balloons drawn over them. It's certainly one feature they could have left out. Overall, fans of 1941 and Spielberg completists will want to have this in their libraries.
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews


Overall Customer Rating:
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (16 out of 16)

Special Features


  • Restored footage not included in the original theatrical release
  • Original documentary "The Making of 1941," including interviews with Steven Spielberg, Bob Gale, John Milius, Robert Zemeckis, and others involved in the film
  • Steven Spielberg's home movies and behind-the-scenes footage
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Outtakes from the film
  • Storyboards and production photographs
  • Original advertising, marketing, and publicity materials

Synopsis


1941
It's December of 1941, and the people of California are in varying states of unease, ranging from a sincere desire to defend the country to virtual blind panic in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Thus begin several story threads that comprise the "plot" of this strange period comedy, a sort of satirical disaster movie, from Steven Spielberg. The stories and story threads involve lusty young men, officers (Tim Matheson) and civilians (Bobby Di Cicco) alike, eager to bed the young ladies of their dreams; Wild Bill Kelso, a nutty fighter pilot (John Belushi) following what he thinks is a squadron of Japanese fighters along the California coast; a well-meaning but clumsy tank crew (including John Candy) led by straight-arrow, by-the-book Sgt. Tree (Dan Aykroyd), who doesn't recognize the thug (Treat Williams) in his command; and homeowner Ward Douglas (Ned Beatty), who is eager to do his part for the nation's defense and, despite the misgivings of his wife (Lorraine Gary), doesn't mind his front yard overlooking the ocean being chosen to house a 40 mm anti-aircraft gun. There is also a pair of grotesquely inept airplane spotters (Murray Hamilton, Eddie Deezen) who are doing their job from atop a ferris wheel at a beachfront amusement park; a paranoid army colonel (Warren Oates) positive that the Japanese are infiltrating from the hills; a big dance being held on behalf of servicemen, being attended by a lusty young woman of size (Wendie Jo Sperber) eager to land a man in uniform; and General Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell (Robert Stack), in charge of the defense of the West Coast, who can't seem to get anyone to listen to him when he says to keep calm. And, oh yes, there's also a real Japanese submarine that has gotten all the way to the California coast under the command of its captain (Toshiro Mifune) and a German officer observer (Christopher Lee), only to find itself without a working compass or usable maps. Its captain won't leave until the sub has attacked a militarily significant, honorable target, and the only one that anyone aboard ship knows of in California is Hollywood. By New Year's Eve, all of these characters are going to cross paths, directly or once-removed, in a comedy of errors and destruction strongly reminiscent of the finale to National Lampoon's Animal House (as well as several disaster movies from the same studio), but on a much larger and more impressive scale. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Cast & Crew


  • Dan Aykroyd
    Dan Aykroyd - Sgt. Tree
  • Ned Beatty
    Ned Beatty - Ward Douglas
  • John Belushi
    John Belushi - Wild Bill Kelso
  • Lorraine Gary
    Lorraine Gary - Joan Douglas
  • Murray Hamilton
    Murray Hamilton - Claude



Customer rating

4.7
100%
would recommend to a friend
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Rare Spielberg misstep

    Posted
    prlwctd

    1941, Spielberg's 5th fiilm, was quite anticipated upon its release in 1979. His first 2 films (Duel & The Sugarland Express) gave him critical acclaim and his following 2 (Jaws & Close Encounters of the Third Kind) said he was here to stay as a film director. First, the good news: Spielberg assembled a dream cast, including the top-billed John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, along with Robert Stack, Christopher Lee, Toshiro Mifune, Ned Beatty, and others. The art direction, music, and costumes also are well done. Now, the bad news: Sadly, what kept the film from attaining the same classic status as Dr. Strangelove is the lack of one thing every comedy needs in order to be good: laughs. While the film has a chuckle or two (like Lee and Mifune speaking to each other solely in German and Japanese, respectively), there are no standout classic funny moments as there are in classic laughfests like A Shot in the Dark, What About Bob?, and the aforementioned Kubrick film. Thankfully, the cast keeps the movie from becoming something even worse than an unfunny comedy-a painfully unfunny comedy. Hence, 1941 isn't as bad as, say, Nothing But Trouble, Tomcats, Bubble Boy, or Freddy Got Fingered. For that, it's certainly worth a look for the curious. Happily, Spielberg's future attempts at comedy proved more successful (Catch Me If You Can & The Terminal).

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    1941 is a funny goofy movie

    Posted
    tooshort74
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member
    • Top 1000 ContributorTop 1000 Contributor

    1941 is a funny goofy movie from steven spiel-berg because like his films are classics like jaws e.t jurassic park duel and of corse the first 3 jones films so if you want to watch a goofy funny movie than watch 1941 and the blu-ray is alot better than the dvd and the blu-ray has all the extras that was on the blu-ray so if you are a fan of this movie well worth upgrading from dvd to blu-ray because picture alone looks way better than dvd ever did and the audio sound very clear so check it out

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    One of the best underrated comedies.

    Posted
    MrMusic
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    This movie has an incredible all-star cast for a comedy. Belushi, Aykroyd, Robert Stack, Ned Beatty plus a dozen other popular actors from the late seventies. Slim Pickens is the highlight for me when he confronts the Japanese in a submarine.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Blu Ray adds so much.

    Posted
    rambler
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

    The Blu Ray version adds such more quality picture as well as sound. Better than I expected. Also, the Theatre version as well as the full length with all the deleted scenes. Great buy.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Great movie!

    Posted
    madmovies3322
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    I don't understand why this movie isn't a classic comedy? Great cast , directing and writing. There are two versions both great fun! fast pace .

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    no way you can't laugh at this movie

    Posted
    DJGss454
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase

    was and is one of my favorite comedies.All actors in this movie performed awesomely.If you want to spend a couple of hours laughing,look no further than this dvd.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    one of first comedy movie i've seen of my life

    Posted
    Emilio
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

    great cast, good special effects, love seeing this movie back when I was a child. great to see again on blu ray.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Classic

    Posted
    CableGuyJeff

    If you love SNL. Then you will love this movie. Most of the original cast is in it. Plus alot of the cast from SCTV. Great movie. A must have.

    I would recommend this to a friend




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