***½/**** Image A Sound B+ Extras A
starring Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten, E.G. Marshall, Tatsuya Mihashi
screenplay by Larry Forrester, Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni
directed by Richard Fleischer and Kinji Fukasuka & Toshio Masuda
by Walter Chaw A joint project between a Japanese film crew and veteran American director Richard Fleischer (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), Tora! Tora! Tora! had Akira Kurosawa assigned as the lead Japanese director, poised to make his American debut with a mammoth script weighing in at well over four-hundred pages--and that just for the Japanese side of the story. Accustomed to complete autonomy in his projects, Kurosawa bowed out after several weeks following a series of run-ins with Fox executives over not only the unwieldiness of his vision, but also disagreements concerning the shade of white used in the interiors of the Japanese carrier ward rooms! Unfortunately, Kurosawa's initial involvement with the picture resulted in his regular cohort Toshiro Mifune turning down the role of Admiral Yamamoto (a role he would play in Jack Smight's 1976 Midway and in 1968's Yamamoto biopic Rengo kantai shirei chôkan: Yamamoto Isoroku), as the two titans of Japanese cinema had lingering bad feelings over their last collaboration, the underseen Akahige.