December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day, and the perfect day to watch a movie in remembrance of that day. Which one should you watch? This week I’m joined by Corey Constable from the Omitted podcast to discuss the historical accuracy of both 2001’s Pearl Harbor and 1970’s Tora! Tora! Tora! to determine which one you should watch this Pearl Harbor Day.
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Dan LeFebvre: [00:03:02] December 7th marks the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In honor, of that, we’re going to do something special on this week’s episode of based on a true story. So this week I’m excited to be joined by the host of omitted, Cory, Constable. Cory’s podcast is one of my favorite history podcasts and his entire second season was dedicated to stories surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Thanks for taking the time to join me today, Corey, and for those listening who haven’t heard of Omitted, can you give us a quick overview of your podcast and where people can find it?
Corey Constable: [00:03:32] Hey Dan, thanks for having me. omitted is a narrative nonfiction history podcast where I tell some of the forgotten stories behind history’s biggest event.
So we all know the story of Titanic or Pearl Harbor or the civil rights movement, but because those events were so big, there were a lot of names that got lost in the shuffle. So of the stories were largely forgotten. So I really just want to go back through history and find some of those people whose names were missed and give them credit for being there and give them credit for pulling apart and all that.
So you can find it on iTunes, Google play Stitcher, where you can stream the firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:04:11] Great. So this episode is going to be a little bit different than the typical episode of based on a true story. Now, I couldn’t pick between Pearl Harbor and tour tour tour. So we’re going to be talking about both and here’s how it’s going to work.
I’ve set up the movie or rather each movie into three sections. So there’s the prelude. The attack itself and then the aftermath. And I’ll provide a quick synopsis of how each movie gets covered in each of those sections. And then we’ll go back and forth and chat about it, to see how each movie handles the historical accuracy in that section.
Finally, we’ll decide which movie pulled off the historical accuracy better for that section. So the idea here, being that at the end, we can really just decide which movie. Is going to be better to watch for Pearl Harbor day, the actual movie called Pearl Harbor or tour tour tour, as far as historical accuracy is concerned.
Ready? I am. If
Corey Constable: [00:05:09] you are.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:05:09] Alrighty. So kicking this off with the, a prelude with a Torah Torah Torah, it says that the reason for Pearl Harbor was because of a trade embargo imposed by the U S on Japan. Being a small Island, Japan that is, with it’s only a matter of time before they run out of raw materials.
So Japan essentially decides that war is inevitable and since war is inevitable, it’s best to attack. First strike the first blow and then on Pearl Harbor side. It doesn’t really mention any of this, but it has a lot of backstory that doesn’t really have anything to do with Pearl Harbor. It tells the story from the side of two fictional friends who grow up to be pilots.
According to this story, world war two really has begun, but United States isn’t part of it. So the pilots in this case, was it rave, which is played by Ben Affleck. He decides to fly in the Eagle squadron to help out during the battle of Britain where the battles of raging over in Europe. And then while he’s gone, Danny, who’s played by Josh Arnett.
He’s transferred to Pearl Harbor. So a lot of this stuff that’s kind of leading up to, but not really talking about the political side of things. and then meanwhile, Rafe is shut down, presumed dead. And so then there’s kind of this love triangle that forms between the two of them. And Ray’s girlfriend played by Kate Beckinsale.
So this, this aspect of it. What about the kind of go back to Tora, Tora, Tora? What about the trade embargo? Is that correct? And showing that that was one of the reasons for going to war,
Corey Constable: [00:06:52] not really was one of the reasons that Japan was willing to go to war at that time. Yeah. the Japanese government was a monarchy at the time.
the emperor was essentially regarded as a God and the citizens were beholden to him. So in an attempt to capitalize on the colonial expansion that they saw the rest of the world going after, Japan decided that they had some pretty lofty goals for, I guess, expanding their own territory. They invaded China and Manchuria, and they took control of the Chinese resources, all the imports into the country, and that kind of made America Madden.
So eventually it led to an embargo on oil exports to the country. and the Japanese empire was growing increasingly indignant and desperate to establish itself as a world power. it was refusing to be bullied. And when they realized that they were down to, I think it was only two years of oil reserves, they felt compelled to strike out against America.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:07:52] Oh, okay. So, so their expansion started in China and then using it, it sounds like they kind of used up a lot of their resources in that campaign.
Corey Constable: [00:08:03] Yeah, definitely. And then just general use within the country, you know, they were trying to build themselves up and make themselves bigger than they actually were so that, you know, that takes up a lot of fuel.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:08:13] Yeah. Yeah. I guess more has that effect on expansion. so then what about the way kind of Pearl Harbor sets a lot of that up? It doesn’t really, as I recall, and granted, I just watched it, but my memory is horrible. As I recall it doesn’t really talk about. That side of it as much, but was there actually Americans involved in as the movie that movie shows the battle of Britain, before the U S was even officially a part of world war II,
Corey Constable: [00:08:42] that aspect of the film is entirely fictionalized.
active duty service members were not asked to fly in the Royal air force and they weren’t even allowed to, to begin with. So that was entirely made up. I guess for the romantic flare, you know, take one of the main characters away to build up tension, but
Dan LeFebvre: [00:09:02] yeah,
Corey Constable: [00:09:02] that didn’t actually happen.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:09:05] It’s interesting.
I, I did a little bit of research on it too, and I found that there were people that flew for, In the battle of Britain, but they weren’t, like you said, they weren’t active duty by any means. They were actually, you know, civilians and stuff from different countries.
Corey Constable: [00:09:19] Yeah, exactly. They, the U S knew that they were going to war.
they knew that war was inevitable. They weren’t going to give up their best, pilots to send over to another country to fight. And, you know, another country’s war when one was beating on our doorstep.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:09:34] Yeah. Yeah. It’s if you go to, the Royal air force, his official website, and I’ll put a link in the show notes to that, but they have a roll of honor of all of the pilots that flew during the battle of Britain.
there were some 574 pilots from other countries and 11 of those were from the U S. So not a really significant role. Yeah. Coming
Corey Constable: [00:10:00] to the odds rife would have been one of
Dan LeFebvre: [00:10:02] them. Yeah. These, these two just happened to be happened to be there.
Corey Constable: [00:10:08] Yeah. It’s not looking good.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:10:10] So kind of a little more generally, rather than just kind of that main setup to the prelude.
Was there anything about Tora, Tora, Tora that struck you as either. They did a really good job. And, you know, in portraying this accurately, or maybe on the other side, just something that was glaringly inaccurate
Corey Constable: [00:10:31] between the two films, Tora, Tora, Tora was hands down the most accurate with how they showed the events leading up to the attack.
for the film they actually brought in technical advisors, who’d been a part of the planning process for Pearl Harbor. So they really tried to get into the mindset of the Japanese. This, of course drew a lot of criticism, I guess you could say from patriotic folks in the West, they sort of felt that the Japanese were, they sort of felt that the directors were trying to take an apologist approach to history, but really the film dedicated
Dan LeFebvre: [00:11:07] honest, there was a lot of mention of that.
The ambassador from Japan kind of wanting to, Basically as the movie implies, almost declare a war before, the actual attack happens, kind of leading up to that prelude. Was that something that actually happened there? And I know that’s kind of something that is, I guess, in addition to the embargo and, and that aspect that we’ve already talked about, but, with Tora, Tora, Tora, really focusing heavily on that.
I just want to touch on that as if that was something that. Actually happened at all.
Corey Constable: [00:11:45] That was an international requirement. Actually the Hague convention in 1907 required that countries declare war on one another before they launch any attacks. Japan knew that they were going to go for America. They knew that that’s what it was going to come down to.
I’m sure there were some within Japan who felt that, you know, a declaration of war, like let’s just go ahead and get this over with. Let’s get it started. Let’s get things underway. That way we can. Have all the oil we need.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:12:12] Yeah. Yeah. I guess that makes sense. I actually I’ve found some, some conflicting reports on that.
I heard some that, that would say that, but then others saying that the actual document that the Japanese government gave was more, that they were just breaking off the diplomatic negotiations, not really a declaration of war, kind of a, yeah, this is, this is going to happen kind of almost an obvious first step, but not really something that would indicate that.
There was a war coming right away. Yeah,
Corey Constable: [00:12:44] that was, that was called the 14 part message. Actually Japan sent that on December 7th. It wasn’t finished being translated until two o’clock that afternoon.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:12:56] That’s Pearl Harbor time, or, cause
Corey Constable: [00:12:58] that was Washington, Washington D C time. Yeah. So it was a little late.
The attack was already underway and it was, I read through it yesterday. It was kind of vague. It was hard to tell that they were saying we are going to attack you.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:13:12] Yeah.
Corey Constable: [00:13:12] it really came across as these are our grievances. This isn’t working out, it read kind of like a breakup letter, but not an attack letter.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:13:20] Yeah. I mean, I guess, I guess if you’re putting yourself in the context of that, if you really do want to sneak attack, you’re not going to declare war ahead of time. And then I know that, you know, you’re saying that there was a. An international idea of having to declare war before you actually do it. But if there’s one thing you’re not going to do ahead of time, I mean, it’s war, right?
I mean, it’s not like you’re being friendly. It’s not like giving people the benefit of the doubt type thing you are declaring war. Yeah.
Corey Constable: [00:13:52] And I mean, that was before world war II, even the Hague convention was in 1907. So yeah.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:14:01] Yeah. Well, I mean that the one had gone through world war one, right? I mean, that was even before world war one.
Corey Constable: [00:14:06] So it was before world war one. So war was changing really, really quickly. the entire makeup of how Wars were fought. So this was new territory for everyone.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:14:15] Huh? So what about, Pearl Harbor then kind of still on the prelude, but, was there anything with Pearl Harbor? You said that Tora Tora Tora was much more accurate than on the other side.
I’m assuming then Pearl Harbor being much more inaccurate. Was there anything kind of stood out to you as being a glaringly inaccurate for the way it kind of set up?
Corey Constable: [00:14:38] I don’t think it was really necessarily glaringly inaccurate so much as it was. They didn’t really go for the actual buildup. the first half of that movie is really just building up the characters.
They, the writers, the directors, they were not historians by any means. I think they were just trying to capitalize on the success of Titanic and, you know, have this romantic love story set with the backdrop set with the backdrop of a tragic event from history, at its core, the film is nothing more than that.
so they really didn’t spend a whole lot of time going over what was leading up to the war itself.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:15:20] So the most inaccurate part being that. Pretty much nothing.
Corey Constable: [00:15:25] Yeah, exactly. Yep. They just, I mean, they go over it briefly. They show the Japanese commanders and whatnot. They don’t really get into the reasons so much.
They don’t build it up in the way that Tora, Tora Tora does.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:15:39] Okay. So to summarize the prelude, if you had to pick between the two and I, I just based on our conversation, I think I’m going to. Guess which one, but, which one would you say is more accurate for the way the events are depicted for the prelude up to the war?
Corey Constable: [00:16:01] I think it’s very much obviously Tora Tora Tora between the two films, the whole storyline about Rafe joining the Eagle squadron and England. That was a huge red flag for me that told me that, you know, this is not going to be a film that concerns itself with actual history. it’s a great story.
It’s very romantic Tora, Tora Tora was largely about the reasons why, we ultimately went to war with Japan, why Japan decided to attack us. So I have
Dan LeFebvre: [00:16:29] to go with towards war. I think I’m going to agree with you there. I think just the, the mere fact of well being fictional characters that really just kind of focusing on, our.
Yeah, I’m gonna have to go with Tora, Tora, Tora as well. All right. So now we’re to the attack itself for Tora Tora Tora. It shows the surprise attack beginning at Dawn on December 7th, 1941. According to this movie, the airplanes are spotted by Hickam field, but they think that they’re a group of, American bombers.
And then there’s another mishap that occurs kind of on top of that, that when there’s a message of warning of a possible attack from general Marshall, Marshall, sorry, in Washington DC that’s message. Unfortunately isn’t marked as urgent, so it doesn’t really make it to Pearl Harbor before the attack. And then during the attack itself, the Japanese launched two waves of fighters instead of launching more and destroy a number of ships in the Harbor.
But then Admiral refuses to launch a third wave of tax, even though you can get a sense in the movie that pretty much everybody else wants to launch another wave of attacks while they have the Americans kind of on a running from defense. And then, but his rationale behind that is he’s afraid that he’s, you know, the war is just starting and he has to take, make sure that the entire fleet makes it back safely.
and he also doesn’t really know where the American carriers are, so he doesn’t want to be exposed to attack themselves. So that’s Tora, Tora, Tora, kind of the attack itself. And then as far as Pearl Harbor, it’s. Really more of a complete surprise in Pearl Harbor sense. Really the two pilots re arrived in Pearl Harbor just the day before they wake up to the sound of the attack going on.
So it’s kind of a, a new environment completely by surprise there. And then these two pilots, Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett make their way to an airfield where they managed to get off the ground. And. Be pretty much the only Americans in the skies, they shoot down seven Japanese planes and we see a lot more destruction of the ships in the Harbor.
but there’s not really a lot of details about the waves of the planes or the actual ships that are being damaged. and so it’s really, again, just kind of from the perspective of those two pilots, so, all right. So that’s kind of a setup for the attack. For Tora, Tora, Tora. was it correct in showing that there were some warning signs of the attack beforehand, like the, being spotted, on another part of the Island, but thinking that they’re American bombers or even that message warning of a possible attack was w were there some warning signs that.
For whatever reason, just didn’t make it to Pearl and time. I
Corey Constable: [00:19:27] think it was pretty clear before the attack even started before December 7th, even before December at all. it was pretty clear that the war drums were beating. So Japan had already aligned itself with Nazi Germany, which was at war with our biggest allies.
Like we knew that we were going to go to war. We knew that an attack was going to happen. We just really didn’t know when, The, you know, the relationship was strained because of the oil embargoes, the talks really were not going well. Everyone knew that an attack was going to happen. there were some signs on that day that were missed.
like I said, just a bit ago, the message wasn’t received in Washington until two o’clock, that should have given, you know, some sort of warning, I suppose. but even more than that, you know, the B seventeens coming in from the North, that was something that actually did happen that day. They picked it up on radar.
They thought it was a fleet of American planes that were coming from California. And, you know, they didn’t really think anything of it. They just thought it was those planes. They didn’t know what was a swarm of Japanese aircraft.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:20:44] So, what about, the, the third way then in Tora, Tora, Tora, you see the Japanese launching a couple of waves and then stopping.
Was that something that actually happened or did they, did they just kind of keep pounding as long as they could.
Corey Constable: [00:20:58] There was supposed to be a third wave of planes that day. That was Japan’s plan for December 7th. They were going to send a third wave and take out. All of the fuel supplies at the Harbor and at the airfields.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:21:12] Oh, wow.
Corey Constable: [00:21:13] Ultimately they decided not to do that. They didn’t want to take any losses. and you know, through the day they only lost 29 planes out of the 350 plus that they sent out. So, you know, they came out on top of things pretty well. I think if they had sent that third wave, you know, by that point, America was ready to fight back.
They had sort of positioned themselves. So where they were able to shoot down some of the planes, they would have been expecting more by that point. So it would have, you know, it would have meant some pretty big losses for Japan.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:21:47] It’s one of those, what if situations, you know what, cause it, if they would have targeted the, you know, Gas and all that kind of stuff.
That would have been a major blow. I would imagine. I mean, not that it wasn’t a major blow anyway, but you know, all of those supplies and everything, that’s what you need in your rebuilding effort. And so rebuilding would take that much longer. If it’s, if it’s fallen,
Corey Constable: [00:22:09] they would have then had to, you know, bring in the fuel from California that would have taken at least a week who knows how much they could have gotten it.
Yeah. It would have been really, really
Dan LeFebvre: [00:22:19] bad. I think I saw a quote somewhere from, Admiral Nimitz. He said that if they had wiped out Pearl Harbor shore facilities, then world war II would have been prolonged for at least two more years. without the U S really being able to even start Naval operations in the Pacific for at least a year later than they were able to.
so, I mean, it’s just kinda. Yeah. I mean, just complete devastation would have, I mean, two more years of the war, just imagine what sort of chaos would have happened. You think of all the horrible events that happened, especially, you know, towards the end of the war in Europe there, that the U S was able to liberate a lot of that.
But if they had fallen behind her, even if we would have won the war, I mean, that’s one of those things that. I don’t know, it’s one of those situations, right?
Corey Constable: [00:23:12] Yeah. It really is. It’s, it’s hard telling, you know, what would have happened to some of the ships that we were actually able to salvage from Pearl Harbor, you know, would those have been more damaged?
Would they have been era like unable to be replaced at that point? We really have no way of knowing it’s all just speculative, but. I think it would have been pretty bad.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:23:33] Yeah. All right. So what about Pearl Harbor? When Pearl Harbor shows that our two heroes in particular are the ones that are able to make it in the air and actually get up in the sky and start fighting back against the Japanese.
Were there any American pilots that were actually able to get off the ground that day?
Corey Constable: [00:23:53] There were, yup. This is an aspect of Pearl Harbor. That’s definitely true. Rafe and Danny were modeled after two second lieutenants named George Welch and Kenneth Taylor. And they actually raced to the airfield and Holly Eva in a Buick.
So the movie got even that part, right? As far as this aspect is concerned, they were the first American pilots up in the air that day. They barely made it up. Somehow they made it through the Japanese throng. They were able to take out six Japanese aircraft. so I think the movie shows seven in real life.
They took out six. That’s still pretty good. Yeah. the, I mean the whole love triangle thing that the characters have going on, that wasn’t something that happened with George Welch and Kenneth Taylor. So they were pretty displeased about that aspect of the movie. but still it had to feel pretty good being memorialized in that way.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:24:42] Yeah. I actually noticed in watching Tora, Tora Tora again, just the other day that it actually, it does show two pilots getting up off the ground as well. It’s a really brief, brief sequence, but you see them getting off the ground. And one of the guys, talks to the other one and says something about George.
And so it also does kind of mention George Welch. Right? I don’t
Corey Constable: [00:25:05] think that’s reality.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:25:07] Yeah. So even there Tora, Tora, Tora, it hasn’t been a little bit.
Corey Constable: [00:25:12] Yeah, there was actually an incident that I spoke about in season two of the podcast, the, ni Hao incident. And that only took place because the American pilots were able to get up off the ground that day.
So they shot a pilot named Nishi Chi, and they pierced his fuel tank and he had to crash land on Niihau and it turned into a big ordeal, but. That wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t been able to get off the ground. So, yep. That aspect is very much true now
Dan LeFebvre: [00:25:40] kind of tying that back into something we saw in the prelude.
Do you know if those two pilots, it, this is kind of the first indication that. The two people. And I’ve said that they’re fictional because the actual names, you know, Rafe and I can’t remember Josh Hartnett characters name, but Danny that’s right. I should remember that.
Corey Constable: [00:26:02] That should be the easy one
Dan LeFebvre: [00:26:03] and no kidding.
but you know, those two, obviously, if they’re modeled off these other characters and those characters themselves, aren’t real, but. Then the question would be, do you know if George Welch and Kenneth Taylor actually fought in the battle of Britain or if either one of them did like the movie shows, the pilot’s doing Rafe doing, I believe, in Pearl Harbor.
Corey Constable: [00:26:25] I can’t say for certain, I don’t believe they did. I’m pretty sure they were active duty, so they wouldn’t have been allowed.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:26:32] Yeah, well, that’s, that’s a, that’s a good point.
Corey Constable: [00:26:35] Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but yeah, I don’t think they did.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:26:39] Yeah. Well, I mean, I think kind of what we had alluded to before, when there were 11 Americans that fought in the battle of Britain, and none of them were active duty.
So then being active duty and pretty much seals the deal. I don’t think it was them unless they went under a fake name and, you know, Hey actually
Corey Constable: [00:26:58] some of the nurses in the movie did that. So.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:27:01] Yup. All right. So in terms of just kind of the general historical accuracy for tour tour tour and the way it depicts the attack itself, was there anything that we haven’t talked about yet that just really just kind of stood out to you as either being really accurate or completely inaccurate?
Just one on one way or the other?
Corey Constable: [00:27:20] I think one of the most interesting, accurate parts is that one of the scenes shows an airplane crash that actually. Literally was an airplane crash. So Pearl Harbor, you know, it was all computer animation and all that good stuff. but Tora, Tora, Tora, they had to use actual props.
And there’s a scene where a plane comes in for a landing and one of its wheels hasn’t come down. I don’t know if
Dan LeFebvre: [00:27:42] you remember that was one of the B seventeens, wasn’t it? Yup.
Corey Constable: [00:27:45] It was. That actually happened during filming. So the, you know, the landing gear was supposed to come down. It didn’t, it crashed into the runway.
The people you see running for their lives. Literally running for their lives. Wow. So they decided to use that footage in the film. So it’s like eerily accurate in that regard. Oh, wow.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:28:08] That’s that’s crazy. I didn’t know that. Wow. That’s one way to get realism, I guess.
Corey Constable: [00:28:13] Yeah. I guess so show people who don’t have to act scared.
They really are.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:28:18] Yeah. So then what about on the Pearl Harbor side? Was there anything that stood out to you as being. Either really accurate. We kind of mentioned that it does a pretty good job of showing well, at least the aspect of two pilots getting in the air. was there anything else that stood out as being accurate or inaccurate for the attack itself?
Corey Constable: [00:28:37] think the general atmosphere was pretty accurate. You know, they do a really good job of showing the chaos of the day. how confused everyone actually was. That’s something that, you know, Tora, Tora, Tora, they tried, but. It was, they were working with a limited budget. They didn’t have computers on hand to be able to do it.
I think Pearl Harbor stands out in that way. but as far as inaccuracy is concerned, I, yeah, I have some gripes for Pearl Harbor too. they show the Maryland, the Nevada, the tendency and the Pennsylvania all sinking, but in reality, all of those ships were saved after Pearl Harbor. They salvaged them.
They made them work again. They sent them off to war.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:29:19] did they actually sink at Pearl Harbor and then they repaired them or was it that they didn’t sink there? The
Corey Constable: [00:29:25] Tennessee, while all of them were attacked. the Tennessee was listing to one side at almost sank. They were able to operate it and, you know, get things back in place.
The Nevada was grounded. I believe it is right outside the Harbor. Or right outside the Harbor. so that one took minor damage. They were able to salvage that one as well. all four of the ships, you know, they made it out of the war, even though in the film, they show those ones sinking. Hmm. Yup. And that seems odd to me because they didn’t mention the USS Utah, which actually did sink at Pearl Harbor.
And it’s still sitting in the Harbor today. But the film that the film made, no mention of that one.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:30:05] Interesting. Yeah, but what was the one that, well, that was the Arizona, right? That it showed sinking that actually had people on it.
Corey Constable: [00:30:14] Yeah, the Arizona was of course the big one of the day, 77% of the ship’s crew were lost.
So they do a decent job of showing, you know, how devastating that part of the attack was. Yeah. And they, they also showed ’em the USS Oklahoma. So they did a decent job showing the USS, Oklahoma and how the men were trapped within the ship and they were drowning. And so the film, you know, the film did pretty good in that regard.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:30:45] Yeah. I think something that kinda stuck out to me there was, it, it really seemed like they were pushing that these two characters, Rafe and Danny were like, The center of everything. I mean, not only did they get it. Yeah, I know, but it’s, it’s like they, they, you know, they, they’re the pilots that fly up there and then as soon as they land, they drive the 10 or so miles from the field to the, to where the Arizona was and they jump in the water and try to help there.
And. I dunno,
Corey Constable: [00:31:17] I paid the hero, I
Dan LeFebvre: [00:31:18] guess. Yeah, I guess so, but, but I, that was something that just really stood out to me is kind of stretching there, but then it was, I liked, I dunno, I really liked the, the realistic aspect of Tora, Tora, Tora, where it was. you could tell they, they didn’t use CG, which did make it a lot less, Actually in the, the fight itself, like barrel Harbor, that, that one shot of like following the bomb and things like that.
That’s kind of really cool stuff. but I liked the, I don’t know, to me it felt more real that fight the actual attack in Tora, Tora, Tora. because there was a lot of confusion. There’s just a lot of people all over the place. And, a lot of people that you didn’t really. No, because that’s the only time you see them in the movie, instead of trying to be like, Oh, these two people are everywhere.
Corey Constable: [00:32:12] Yeah. There definitely was, you know, using actual props, it did wonders for showing or for making it more real. I guess that’s a good way to put it, until you know, what to look for with those prompts.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:32:26] So there were, there were some
Corey Constable: [00:32:28] subtle mistakes, you know, the bridge on the gawky was supposed to be on the.
Port side of the ship, but it was shown on the starboard cause they actually filmed that on the USS Yorktown. So,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:32:38] Oh, interesting. Obviously. Yup. so
Corey Constable: [00:32:43] you know, little things like that, the planes, you know, some of them weren’t painted the color they were supposed to, but you know, we saw the same thing in Pearl Harbor as well, so.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:32:53] All right. So as far as the attack is concerned, Overall historical accuracy, somebody wanting a picking between those two movies, wanting to get a good idea of what the attack was like. Which one would you recommend? Tora, Tora, Tora, or Pearl Harbor
Corey Constable: [00:33:09] for this one, I’d have to go with Pearl Harbor. Okay. I feel iffy about saying that because there was a lot in there that really was fictionalized, but I think they did a better job and it’s because they had computer graphics at hand.
I think they did a better job of showing really just how confusing and chaotic and like how unbelievable the whole event
Dan LeFebvre: [00:33:34] was. Okay. So I could get that
Corey Constable: [00:33:38] just from the feeling aspect, the way that it felt to be there. I think Pearl Harbor one, this one.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:33:45] Yeah. That ha that has to be really tough to get across because.
It is just it’s pure chaos, but the you’re trying to tell a story at the same time. And so it’s, I mean, the surprise attack, but then there’s, it’s kind of, how do you, how do you show this from all these different angles of, you know, it’s not just one, it’s not just one shift that’s being attacked, right? So you have to show all of that, all of these different ships and all the different crews and.
Yeah, it’s a, it’s a massive undertaking for sure. And you can kind of get an idea of how, how tough it is for really, for either one of the movies to be able to do that, even with the benefit of, of CG and VFX and things like that. It’s, it’s still really hard to, to show that.
Corey Constable: [00:34:32] Yeah, it really is. I liked though that they brought in some minor characters to show more of it.
So like Cuba Gooding Jr’s character. Oh, he was Dory Miller. He was an actual person on the Arizona that day. he was with the skipper of the, I think he was with the skipper of the West Virginia when he died. so the film shows that aspect of it. And I liked that they bring in some of the minor characters, little subplots, I suppose, to add a bit more effect to it.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:35:05] I think it didn’t. I think Tora, Tora Tora had had that character as well, too very briefly. just kind of showing him, getting out a gun and shooting for about three seconds before it cut away.
Corey Constable: [00:35:16] Yeah. I think he was a bit more, angry and the Pearl Harbor version, there was a bit more passionate in there, but
Dan LeFebvre: [00:35:22] when I was Cuba Gooding jr.
Corey Constable: [00:35:24] exactly
Dan LeFebvre: [00:35:26] Alrighty. So I mean, I think I’m. For that one, I’m going to have to go at Tora, Tora, Tora, ironically, for the same while the opposite of the reason that you said. I dunno, I, even though like my background is in CG and VFX, so maybe that maybe that’s why, but I, I enjoy, I enjoy good VFX. I enjoy it for sure.
But I also like the, the realism that came with Tora, Tora, Tora, where it was, Just the, you know, the, the real planes, you know, you could tell that it was the real planes. Yeah. There were limitations to what they could do there, but, and maybe another part of it too, was I actually got to see, those, those planes that they use in the movie now are used, by the commemorative air force.
And they put on a show called Tora, Tora, Tora. and so the air force base by me, A couple of years ago, they had them come in and they performed kind of the whole reenactment. They tell the story of Pearl Harbor and they have these, you know, zeroes flying over. And then they have, you know, the American planes that go up and they shoot them and there’s pyro and explosions and just, you know, huge.
thanks. So maybe that was kind of part of it too, is just kind of that sense of nothing like what it was actually there. Cause you know, you’re in the middle of an air show, but still just kind of cool to hear it and see the visuals and feel the heat and all that kind of stuff.
Corey Constable: [00:36:45] That is really cool. Now I want to go to Oklahoma to see that this is like an annual thing.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:36:51] well it, that particular part, so the air show that they have here is not, they used to be annually, but with budget cuts and stuff, now it’s like semi-annually every, you know, every couple of years or so, But they don’t always do that. Like last year they had it last year and it was a reenactment for Vietnam.
and they kind of showed how they would extract, you know, a soldier using Vietnam era, planes and stuff. but I think the tour tour, tourist show, you can find it online and I think they do air shows around the country. but yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s pretty cool.
Corey Constable: [00:37:21] I did not know that was a thing.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:37:25] Yeah, yeah.
Check it out. I’m sure. Being up there in Ohio, they’ve got the, you know, the in right Patterson. I’m sure they’ve got something going on.
Corey Constable: [00:37:35] Yeah. There’s gotta be something like that.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:37:37] Yeah. All right. So after the attack, we have the aftermath, in the aftermath for, in Tora, Tora, Tora, it shows in Washington that the, kind of what we talked about, the Japanese diplomats messed up by delivering message after the attack took place.
Meaning that the attack happened while technically the two countries were peaceful. And then after that you see Admiral Yamamoto back in Japan, regret the decision to attack Pearl Harbor saying quotes. I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve and quote.
And that’s a quote that I know has kind of been attributed to him and Ben very popular. So not something that was made up in this movie necessarily, but. and then in Pearl Harbor shows the two pilots, they joined a message, mission by major Jimmy Doolittle, who was played by Alec Baldwin and they pilot Mitchell bombers from an aircraft carrier to retaliate against the Japanese by bombing their Homeland, kind of the first strike against the Japanese Homeland.
And in that mission, it’s a success, but they crash line in China killing one of the two heroes of the film. And then that leaves the other one to get the girl in a true Hollywood fashion ending,
Corey Constable: [00:38:57] super romantic,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:38:58] super romantic. So as far as towards horror tour and kind of the aftermath of that, I know we kind of already talked about the message for kind of before that was that.
Did Tora Tora Tora show that accurately, but then also kind of afterwards, the, the regrets that you kind of see of some of the, commanders in particular Admiral Yamamoto, regretting that decision to attack and thinking that, well, maybe that’s maybe the attack on Pearl Harbor was not such a good idea after all.
Corey Constable: [00:39:30] we touched on it briefly with the Hague convention thing, but it, that became a big debate after the war was over. whether or not Japan had gone about things the correct way. So Japan felt that they were in the right, because they did send the 14 part message. But the problem was that it wasn’t received until 2:00 PM.
they weren’t sure if it was supposed to go to the Japanese embassy in Washington or they weren’t sure if it was supposed to come from the Japanese embassy in Washington D C or if it was supposed to go to the American embassy in Tokyo. So there was a little bit of confusion there and it was encoded.
They had to translate it from there. It became a big debate after the war was over.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:40:13] Hmm. I can see that. I mean, it’s not like that’s not something that you really practice, you know, practice going to war. Where do we actually send this document? And you’re not going to ask the, ask the other side, where are you going to send the document?
Corey Constable: [00:40:28] I hope we don’t have a practice
Dan LeFebvre: [00:40:29] that well, no, for sure.
Corey Constable: [00:40:33] yeah, as far as Yamamoto is concerned, the there’s really no indication to say that he actually said those words, you know, they’re the folk, they’re the most famous words in the entire movie I would argue. He certainly did regret it to an extent.
He felt that Japan couldn’t win a war. With America, if it was prolonged, if they were going to do it, if they were going to win, they needed to do it quickly, get it over with and you know, called out their success. he knew that if it was a long drawn out affair, that Japan simply could not win that. So he regretted it and, you know, at least to some degree, but we don’t really know if he said those actual words.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:41:18] Do you know, kind of why he regretted it was some of it because of the raw materials, kind of what we were talking about beforehand, where Japan had limited natural resources. Yeah,
Corey Constable: [00:41:31] I think so. I think they knew that they were going to have to invade other countries in order to, you know, take their resources in order to fight a war.
And that would detract from their ability to fight back against America across the Pacific. So. I think he understood that, you know, they’d gotten to them. I think you understood that they’d gotten themselves into something much bigger than most of them had realized.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:41:59] Okay. Yeah. I mean, so even if he didn’t say that line, it’s a line that’s, could have been said pause, perhaps.
Corey Constable: [00:42:07] I think it reflects his sentiments pretty well. Yeah. I thought it was interesting that they carried, I think that exact line over into Pearl Harbor as well.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:42:17] Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, I think it’s something that, what, I guess I, I said it wasn’t made for the movie, but that was always my, my thought, but I guess the movie came out and, you know, before I was born, so maybe I just assumed that it was something that kind of was picked up, you know, before then, but maybe it was actually from Tora, Tora, Tora.
Do you know if that was something before the movie or was that something that Tora Tora Tora kind of started as him saying, and then. You know, played on and it’s in later movies. Yeah. It’s
Corey Constable: [00:42:48] my understanding that it was something that the writers of Torah, Torah, Torah attributed to him. he could have said it it’s certainly poetic.
He was a wise man. it could have come out of his mouth. I just, I don’t think there’s any record to say for sure that he actually set up though.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:43:06] Hmm. Okay. Okay. Interesting. Yeah. And I know he actually passed away before the war was over. He was, the Americans cracked Japanese codes and found, find out his flight attendant very, towards the middle of the war, I guess in 1943.
And so they launched an attack and shot his plane down and killed him. So we will never, never know. That’s one of those mysteries. All right. So what about an Pearl Harbor when they’re talking about the, or showing rather the retaliation for the surprise attack by launching bombers? Was that something that actually happened
Corey Constable: [00:43:41] that really did happen?
Yeah. in April of 1942, the U S attacked Japan and what was called the Doolittle raid. So in the film, Pearl Harbor Doolittle is of course played by Alec Baldwin. He’s there on the very beginning with Rafe, trying to get them to. Not go to Europe and then telling him he should, he comes back at the end to play the hero once more.
that’s something that really did happen. they did a decent job. I think of depicting how it happened for the most part, like the structure of the event. One of the biggest problems for me though, was that none of the people who actually went on the Doolittle rate in real life were at Pearl Harbor.
Okay. They were all from a regiment in South Carolina. None of them were actually at Pearl Harbor. Although the film shows that, you know, I think most of the people who are on that raid, they show as being from Pearl Harbor, you know, it’s Danny and rapes friends from Pearl Harbor. Yeah.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:44:42] But yeah, and th the two pilots that were, you know, of Britain and then carried over into Pearl Harbor and the only two that made it in the air, and then also leading, leading the raid.
Corey Constable: [00:44:54] They sure are heroes aren’t they?
Dan LeFebvre: [00:44:58] Yeah. So they,
Corey Constable: [00:45:00] yeah, the Doolittle raid was something that actually happened. They did attack Japan and then they knew from there that they weren’t going to be able to return to the USS Hornet because their planes were too big to land on the aircraft carrier again.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:45:14] Oh, okay.
Corey Constable: [00:45:15] So from there they had to fly to China. They all crashed, landed in China except for one, the crash landed in Russia. three American pilots were killed. The ones in Russia were held for about a year. So that’s something that really did happen. Hmm.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:45:33] And was it something that’s in the, in the movie, they show that, you know, they, they dropped their bombs and, but it doesn’t really seem to have much of an effect other than, I mean, it pumps up their morale and stuff like that, but it’s not really, as far as the overall war is concerned, the movie doesn’t make it seem like it’s.
As big of a hit as Pearl Harbor was for the U S would you say that’s kind of a fair assessment? Yeah,
Corey Constable: [00:45:56] it definitely didn’t have a major effect. I think what they were really going for was psychological. They wanted to show Japan, you know, you can sneak up and attack us, but we’re going to do the exact same thing to you.
So it wasn’t so much about causing damage. So as it was about, you know, telling Japan that you’re not quite safe either,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:46:16] so, Hmm. Okay. That makes sense. So as far as the aftermath for Tora Tora, Tora, was there anything else that kind of stood out as being accurate or on the flip side, kind of glaringly inaccurate with the way that it, it depicts the aftermath of the attack?
Corey Constable: [00:46:35] Tora, Tora, Tora really doesn’t show a whole lot of the aftermath. That’s true. Drops off for the most part after the attack is over. I really did like those that they showed Yamamoto, regretting the incident. Regretting the attack, I suppose, that sort of, I guess, shows Japan in a more positive light shows that not everyone there was blood thirsty.
Some people knew that they had opened up a can of worms that they really just were not ready for. So
Dan LeFebvre: [00:47:07] that makes sense. How about for Pearl Harbor then? Was there anything that kind of stood out again being either really accurate or inaccurate either way?
Corey Constable: [00:47:15] It was nice that with Pearl Harbor, they took the story past the attack.
at least they showed the Doolittle raid. I gotta give them credit there it’s, you know, an event in the history that most people overlook because they just don’t know about it.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:47:28] Hmm, but what, when did, w sorry, when did that act? Did we say when that actually happened? Was that like right after Pearl Harbor or was it there’s some time between that?
Corey Constable: [00:47:37] It was in April of 1942. So it was about four months later.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:47:41] Well, pretty, pretty quick, but you know, not, not like right away. Yeah. Okay.
Corey Constable: [00:47:47] Yep. So I liked that they took it a little bit farther that they showed that, you know, we did rage of hand soon afterwards. The fact that they showed men from Pearl Harbor doing it.
And of course it’s because they had to have the hero. Right. But the fact that they showed men from Pearl Harbor doing it, rather than attributing it to, you know, the men from South Carolina who really were a part of it, that kind of bothered me a bit.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:48:13] But the
Corey Constable: [00:48:15] directors really weren’t concerned with the.
Historicity of things anyway, so
Dan LeFebvre: [00:48:19] yeah. Well, I guess on that note for overall kind of the aftermath side, which one would you, which would you go for? The historical accuracy, Tora, Tora horror, or Pearl Harbor.
Corey Constable: [00:48:35] This is a hard one for me. Pearl Harbor was the only one that really showed it. Yeah. So much. But they did a poor job of it.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:48:43] So I
Corey Constable: [00:48:44] almost, I really almost want to give the credit to Tora Tora Tora, because they didn’t even try, like they showed Yamamoto feeling that it was maybe a mistake, but drop it at that.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:48:57] Yeah, no
Corey Constable: [00:48:59] Harbor on the other hand, you know, I don’t know,
Dan LeFebvre: [00:49:03] know it was funny. I thought the same thing. And, I know I kind of built this structure, so it’s kind of, maybe it’s on me, but, as I was kind of going through it, I was like, you know, there’s not much there, but that’s actually to their advantage because I didn’t really, I mean, I liked that they showed the Doolittle raid and Pearl Harbor, but I didn’t like how they portrayed it.
And so, I. Yeah, at least for me, I’m going to have to give this one too. Tora, Tora, Tora. Cause at least it just kind of drops off. You know, it shows the attack and, and I mean, it doesn’t show much beyond that, which I think is to its advantage.
Corey Constable: [00:49:37] Yeah. I think, I think you’re definitely right in
Dan LeFebvre: [00:49:40] that. Okay. So overall recapping, we had a prelude to war.
You went with Tora, Tora, Tora as did I, the attack itself. You want Pearl Harbor? I went with Warhol Torah and then with the aftermath, we both picked Tora, Tora Tora. So ultimately I think if someone were to pick between these two movies to watch an honor of Pearl Harbor day on December 7th, Which one would you recommend even though your voting record so far is Tora Tora Tora two out of three.
You’re welcome to change it for kind of overall purposes in case there’s something we, we hadn’t quite talked about yet.
Corey Constable: [00:50:20] I think if you’re looking for historical accuracy, you have to go with Tora, Tora, Tora, that’s hands down, the more accurate. but if you’re looking for something that’s emotionally compelling and it has plenty of actions still.
And as a love story that maybe your partner might also enjoy, then go with Pearl Harbor. the former has its historical merits while the latter has I think, a more compelling and emotional storyline.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:50:45] So, okay. Yeah. That’s fair. I can see that. And I th I think it’s worth pointing out that both of these are movies, they’re entertainment.
They’re not really intended to be documentaries there, and we’re kind of talking about historical accuracy, but yeah. If you really, really want to see something accurate, Cinco, check out a documentary or actually read some books about it. Yeah, for sure. Listen to your podcast about season
Corey Constable: [00:51:07] two of them in it.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:51:08] There you go.
Corey Constable: [00:51:10] So I personally, this week, I’m going to be watching Pearl Harbor, as not totally accurate, but I still enjoy the film. You know, 2001 era, Josh Hartnett is reason enough to watch it in my opinion. So I’m going to have to go with Pearl Harbor.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:51:25] Okay. Okay. I can give that. I might actually watch both of them.
I would probably pick between same towards her, a Torah. just, but I mean, there’s nothing wrong with watching both of them or, you know, pick, pick some other ones as well. So yeah.
Corey Constable: [00:51:42] Yeah, there’s plenty
Dan LeFebvre: [00:51:42] of them out there for sure. For sure. And I think the more that we can kind of shine a light on that, the, the less likely it is to be forgotten.
And even if it’s, even if it’s not a hundred percent historically accurate, hopefully that will kind of spark people to go research what actually happened and find the true story.
Corey Constable: [00:52:00] Yeah, definitely. That’s one thing that I’m really glad I saw Pearl Harbor when I did, when I was a kid, because it did peak my interest.
It did make me want to learn more about the actual event.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:52:12] Good. Good. Well, I know this format has been a little bit different than our typical episode, but I really hope that you enjoyed this listening to this as much as I’ve enjoyed chatting with Corey and, thanks so much for your time, Corey, but before we wrap up, can you let everybody know where they can find your podcast?
Corey Constable: [00:52:30] Yeah, you can find omitted on just about any podcast of your choosing. So if you use iTunes, it’s going to be on the Apple podcast. Sorry. Excuse me. Sorry, Apple. So if you use Apple podcasts, it’s going to be on there. If you have an Android, you can find it in the Google play store. You can also stream the episodes on omitted podcast.com.
Dan LeFebvre: [00:52:50] Well, thanks again, Corey. I really appreciate it. Yeah.
Corey Constable: [00:52:53] Thanks for having me.