Story

Watching this director's cut, it's finally possible to see why the studio made Spielberg mercilessly hack up this comedy: it's a screaming movie (everyone screams a lot), and screaming movies do not need character development. So all those character-development scenes hit the cutting-room floor and, surprise, they were all critical to Spielberg's pace for the humor in this film. The screaming wasn't that funny then--and it still isn't--but what is funny are the reinserted development scenes, showcasing the now-evident sense of hysteria in the Los Angeles community, post-Pearl Harbor. A bunch of certified nitwits, and a few certified lunatics, act as if Tojo Hideki's entire Imperial force is just off the mainland. Actually, one Japanese submarine is, and it helps fuel the frenzy. John Belushi is Wild Bill Kelso, an insane fighter pilot, and Dan Aykroyd plays a conciliatory tank commander. Robert Stack's performance as General Stilwell, one of the best of the film, finally makes sense. Also fun for the numerous cameos, Spielberg's inside jokes, and John Williams's great score. --Keith Simanton

DVD Features

  • Restored footage not included in the original theatrical release
  • Original documentary "The Making of 1941," including interviews with Steven Spielberg, Bob Gale, John Milius, Robert Zemeckis, and others involved in the film
  • Steven Spielberg's home movies and behind-the-scenes footage
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Outtakes from the film
  • Storyboards and production photographs
  • Original advertising, marketing, and publicity materials

Cast

Dan AykroydSgt. Frank Tree
Ned BeattyWard Douglas
John BelushiCapt. Wild Bill Kelso
Lorraine GaryJoan Douglas
Murray HamiltonClaude Crumm
Christopher LeeCapt. Wolfgang von Kleinschmidt
Tim MathesonCapt. Loomis Birkhead
Toshiro MifuneCmdr. Akiro Mitamura
Warren OatesCol. 'Madman' Maddox
Robert StackMaj. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell
Treat WilliamsCpl. Chuck 'Stretch' Sitarski
Nancy AllenDonna Stratton
John CandyPvt. Foley
Slim PickensHollis P. Wood
Michael McKeanWilly
John LandisMizerany
Mickey RourkeReese
James CaanSailor In Fight

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