JAPAN'S LONGEST DAY

"No, I will not do the news using my Bill O'Reilly voice!"(1967 - Japanese title: Nihon no ichiban nagai hi)
With Toshirô Mifune, Sô Yamamura, Chishu Ryu,  Seiji Miyaguchi, Takashi Shimura, Toshio Kurosawa, Shogo Shimada, Susumu Fujita, Rokko Toura, Tatsuya Nakadai (narrator)
Directed by Kihachi Okamoto
Black and White
Reviewed by JB

    Featuring an all-star Japanese cast, JAPAN'S LONGEST DAY is a historical drama chronicling the events of August 14th through August 15th, 1945, when Japan officially surrendered to the Allied Forces and World War II came to an end.the day. The setup, which lasts about an an hour (it is twenty minutes before we even get the opening credits) is talky but historically fascinating, as government and military official debate the fate of Japan if and when they do surrender.  Once the decision is made, the film becomes a fast-paced, deftly-edited action film detailing a desperate and foredoomed military coup and a race to find and destroy The Emperor's recorded speech to the people of Japan before it can be played over the radio at noon.  At times the film gets bloody, what with a beheading and a graphic depiction of seppuku (hara kiri - the ritual disemboweling of one's self asa way to an honorable death), and it can be difficult to keep track of the dozens of characters, but for movie fans interested in World War II, this is a fascinating story told from the point of view of those who lost the war. 4½ - JB

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