Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Behind the Scenes look at the IJN Fleet of Tora Tora Tora

Every now and then we come across some gems on the internet that give us a look how such great films are made. For this edition we have a small collection of photos of the full scale mockups of the Imperial Japanese Navy that were constructed for the 1970 film TORA TORA TORA. As history recalls, the film was a joint American-Japanese production with famed master film maker Akira Kurosawa initially leading the Japanese side of the production. But just after two weeks of filming Kurosawa backed (or more accurately fired by 20th Century Fox) out of the film citing it just wasn't his style of film he was used to making with American producers making him accountable for his every move. While Kurosawa worked the first two years of pre-production and oversaw the filming of the dramatic "picture shots"m of the Japanese fleet, his mark on the film's opening scenes are unmistakable with his use of the natural elements such as big sky shots and the genius to build his full scale mockups of the Flagship Nagato and the Aircraft Carrier Akagi on a beach facing the ocean. Considering there was no CGI back then, this was a brilliant move on the part of the master director. That being said, here's are some of the photos of the set under construction. As with the later 2005 production of Otoko no Tachi no Yamato (Men of the Yamato) attention to detail was done with great precision to ensure the believability of the film. 

They made the Nagato look so real, this wooden mockup looks like she could take to the seas!
 Carrier Akagi mockup under construction.

Seen here is the Carrier Akagi brought back to life!
Here's a rare photo taken at some distance of the set where the full scale mockup of the Nagato and Akagi sit at the waters edge for filming. It's a shame we couldn't find a clearer photo in color. 

On the American Side, Director Richard Fleischer built only one mockup of the USS Arizona for principal photography. The rest was done using model miniatures. 
Seen here are the Nagato and Akagi miniatures in the water for the later Japanese scenes.
 Here's the same model out of the water.
Considering the technology of 1970, it's fair to say they did an amazing job for their day. If you haven't seen this war classic, it's worth it. But don't take our word for it, see it yourself!

To learn more of Director Kurosawa's role please watch the second video detailing the behind the scenes controversy surrounding the Japanese side of the production.

No comments:

Post a Comment