Midway [WS] [DVD] [1976]

  • SKU: 4355815
  • Release Date: 10/30/2001
  • Rating: PG
Midway has aged somewhat better than anyone could have anticipated when it was released in 1976. Charlton Heston, the movie's nominal star, can say anything he wishes, but the movie seemed to take mostly wrong turns at the time of its release, injecting superficial fictional personal stories (centered on Heston's character) where none were needed, and only the superbly staged battle scenes (enhanced by "Sensurround") made it worth the two hours and change it demanded -- Heston, Henry Fonda, Hal Holbrook, Glenn Ford, Robert Webber, James Coburn, Toshiro Mifune, and others were mostly wasted, uttering predictable dialogue and stock characterizations. Indeed, some of the supporting players, including Kevin Dobson and Erik Estrada, fare better with their few lines than Heston and Fonda do as the stars. The movie still seems like a mess, but, as we've seen from pictures such as Pearl Harbor, not nearly as much of a mess as more recent and ambitious films have made of World War II history. The Universal DVD reissue of Midway supplants the old Goodtimes edition in every respect. Not only does it offer a better transfer of the movie, but a ton of supplementary materials. The producers have tried to give us all of the additional footage that has become familiar from television showings of the movie, but in this regard they've come up short; the scenes involving Charlton Heston and Susan Sullivan, portraying his love interest, are appended to the movie rather than integrated with it, and there is no sign of the footage depicting the battle of the Coral Sea, which figures into the first quarter of the film obliquely and was depicted in the television version of the film. "The Making of Midway," running 36 minutes, begins with the recollections of Charlton Heston about the actual period, and offers producer Walter Mirisch giving a history lesson -- it's the sort of thing that the History Channel does better, with less padding from the movie itself. Director Jack Smight recalled how his successful direction of Airport 1975 led to the assignment to do Midway, whose biggest challenge, apart from stage managing the reenactment of a battle involving thousands of men and dozens of ships, was matching the Navy's archival footage with newly shot material. Astonishingly, the assembly of stock footage, done by editor Frank Urioste, cost 60,000 dollars, extraordinarily high for second unit material, but impressive to the executives at Universal when they saw that they were getting air and sea battles that would have cost millions to film in a studio, assuming that this could be done. The movie started life as a documentary, and it was only midway through pre-production that it became a dramatic blockbuster and required star power, hence the involvement of Heston, Fonda, Mitchum, and others. The only dubious moment is when the makers explain their decision to kill off the Charlton Heston character, taking bows for their "honesty" in killing off a character in which the audience is "invested." The Heston character, however, is so sketchily and superficially depicted, that it's hard to believe that audience members cared one way or the other. "The Score of Midway" includes a good interview with composer John Williams, recalling his career from the first half of the 1970s. This was, in fairness, not one of his better scores, even from the era, inspired only in a handful of places, but Williams, Smight, and Mirisch give a good account of the fine points of the score. The documentary "They Were There" was a 1976 promotional film hosted by Charlton Heston in which he interviewed the real-life aircraft squadron commander Max Leslie and intelligence officer Joseph Rochefort, and the real-life George Gay, whose plane was shot down in the first attack on the Japanese carriers -- he recalls being stranded in the water, surrounded by Japanese carriers that were soon on fire. Unfortunately, the short doesn't last nearly long enough to satisfy one's interest in the actual battle, but it is handy to have, and it's nice that someone thought to shoot it at the time. The DVD opens automatically to the main menu, which, in turn, opens to a simple two-part menu presenting the bonus selections.
$7.99

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    Overview

    Ratings & Reviews


    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (23 out of 23)

    Special Features


    • Original featurette
    • Documentary featuring new interviews with producer Walter Mirisch, director Jack Smight, editor Frank J. Urioste, and Charlton Heston
    • Featurette on composer John Williams
    • Featurette on Sensurround Sound
    • Production photographs and portraits with score by John Williams
    • Additional scenes exclusively shot for the network television version
    • Theatrical trailer
    • Production notes
    • Cast and filmmakers

    Synopsis


    Midway
    An expensive war epic, Midway emulates The Longest Day and Tora! Tora! Tora! in attempting to re-create a famous World War II battle from both the American and Japanese viewpoints. The 1942 battle of Midway was the turning point of the War in the Pacific; the Japanese invasion fleet was destroyed, and America's string of humiliating defeats was finally broken. Though the battle itself was sufficiently dramatic to fill two films, Midway also has plotline involving the mixed-race relationship between Ensign Garth (Edward Albert), son of Navy Captain Matt Garth (Charlton Heston), and Haruko Sakura (Christina Kokubo), a Hawaiian girl of Japanese descent. The real-life personages depicted herein include American Admirals Nimitz (Henry Fonda), Halsey (Robert Mitchum) and Spruance (Glenn Ford), and Japanese Admiral Yamamoto (Toshiro Mifune, his voice once again dubbed by Paul Frees, whom Mifune personally selected for the job). For its original road show release, Midway was offered in the "Sensurround" process, which electronically shook and vibrated the audience's chairs during the battle sequences. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew


    • Charlton Heston
      Charlton Heston - Capt. Matt Garth
    • Henry Fonda
      Henry Fonda - Adm. Chester W. Nimitz
    • James Coburn
      James Coburn - Capt. Vinton Maddox
    • Glenn Ford
      Glenn Ford - Rear Adm. Raymond A. Spruance
    • Hal Holbrook
      Hal Holbrook - Cmdr. Joseph Rochefort



    Customer rating

    4.7
    100%
    would recommend to a friend
    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      Dramatization of a Major Battle in the Pacific

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

      Video dramatizes the battle for Midway Island in June 1942. Actual video from the battle and clips used in Tora, Tora, Tora are mixed with footage produced for the movie. The video features a cast of characters both stars in their own right at the time of filming, such as Henry Fonda, Charleton Heston, Robert Mitchum, Glenn Ford and up and comers like Tom Selleck, Christopher George, James Shigata and Steve Kanaly.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      An amazing war/action film.

      Posted
      Pyramids
      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember
      • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

      I think that "Midway" was one of the greatest classic war films of all-time and it was also one of my favorite films. I really enjoyed all of the action and personal drama that kept this film very entertaining and enjoyable. I also think that this film had a really great cast, plot and personal storylines as well.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      One Of My Fav WWII Pacific Theatre Movies

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

      This movie is a classic - a true favorite. wish the quality of the presentation could be better when they transferred it to Blu-Ray, but it still was one I had to add to my collection.. I can olny hope that someday they improve on the movie quality and re-release it - until then, this is the best available.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Awesome movie

      Posted
      FlyingTard
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      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      Historical and action packed. Mostly based on history (some sub-plots are fiction) - showed how the US really "got lucky"" at Midway - tides of war. It also showed how important cryptographic intelligence was and how it gave us the edge... great movie.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Outstanding!!

      Posted
      JW30
      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      This is my favorite WWII movie. So many great actors!! The director used actual war footage clips. This is a great movie. So many brave men fought & died for our freedom. This movie does a wonderful job portraying this!!

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Great Addition To Our Movie Collection

      Posted
      DevilDog
      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member
      • Top 1000 ContributorTop 1000 Contributor

      This is a older movie that I originally saw in a movie theater and was delighted when I was able to purchase it from BestBuy at a good price so my wife, who has not seen it, can watch it anytime we want.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Nice historical based movie.

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

      If you remotely enjoy WW II history, the is a good one. Some fictional players (Heston's character), but overall a good summary of the Midway Battle.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Great Movie

      Posted
      Iraqibob

      This movie is a dramatic account of what happened during the Battle of Midway (June, 1942). From a historical perspective, this film is very accurate, yet entertaining.

      I would recommend this to a friend


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