Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Eight pick.
Film: The Final Countdown
Captain Yelland: […to his Native American Weather Officer…] “Ahhh, Black Cloud, you’ve been doing unauthorized rain dances again.”
Lasky: […as a Japanese pilot is holding Laurel at gunpoint…] “Why don’t you tell him what’s going on here, Commander? You’re an expert on what’s gonna happen tomorrow…”
Captain Yelland: “Go ahead, tell him.”
Commander Richard Owens: “26 November, six carriers left the Kuril Isles north of Japan. The carriers were the Akagi, Kaga, Shokaku, Zuikaku, Hiryu, Soryu. Tomorrow at dawn, these carriers will send 353 planes to attack Pearl Harbor.”
Senator Chapman: “How in the hell do you know all that?”
F-14 Pilot #1: “Mission aborted? But, we can see ’em!”
F-14 Pilot #2: “They’re gonna let the Japs do it, again.”
Directed by Don Taylor, it was produced by Peter Vincent Douglas and Lloyd Kaufman with Kirk Douglas executive producing without credit. The story, and screenplay, was written by the team of Thomas Hunter, Peter Powell, David Ambrose and Gerry Davis. The ensemble cast was Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross, James Farentino, Charles Durning, Ron O’Neal, Victor Mohica, Soon-Tek Oh and James Coleman, with producers Lloyd Kaufman and Peter Douglas playing small parts.
It’s 1980 and Warren Lasky (Sheen) is a Systems Analyst from Tideman Industries, working with the Department of Defense as an efficiency expert. He is dispatched by his secretive employer to board the USS Nimitz before its departure from Naval Station Pearl Harbor for naval exercises in the Pacific. Tideman Industries designed and built the carrier. Not long at sea, a strange storm appears out of nowhere and the Nimitz can neither outrun nor maneuver away from it. Passing thru the storm, electronics and people, alike, are knocked out. Once the storm is gone and everything returns to normal, Captain Yelland (Douglas), his crew and his civilian passenger discover that they have been thrown backwards in time to 1941, just hours before the attack on Pearl Harbor. What now?
It’s original premiere was in London on May 21, 1980, Japan on July 5 and the US on August 1. I didn’t get to see it at the theater but, caught it on HBO a year later. IMDb lists this as Action & Sci-Fi, which it is but, I think it fits in the Adventure/Thriller categories, too. As a contributor on IMDb, I’ve made a suggested update of the genre. Having been on board the USS Enterprise on December 7, 2001, I have a much greater appreciation for the making of this movie. It received mixed reviews and didn’t make a lot of money. Two months later, another time travel film was released…Somewhere In Time and The Philadelphia Experiment, four years later, is the reverse of this movie in time frames. ~Vic
♦ Peter Douglas is Kirk Douglas’ son with his second wife. This was his first film as producer and his only credited acting role.
♦ This was made with the full cooperation of the US Navy and 48 Nimitz crew members were credited.
♦ Filming took place on board ship at sea (exterior shots) with interior shots filmed in dry dock at Naval Station Norfolk. The USS Kitty Hawk was a stand-in, pulling into Pearl Harbor. Flight and water scenes were shot at Naval Air Station Key West.
♦ The production crew was allowed to film a real emergency landing and recovery of an aircraft that appeared in the film.
♦ The first setup to film an F-14 takeoff resulted in both camera and operator being pitched down the runway.
♦ The black and white Pearl Harbor attack footage was taken from Tora! Tora! Tora!
♦ WWII ace fighter pilot Archie Donahue was one of the Zero pilots. The Zeros were converted T-6 Texans, flying full throttle and the F-14s were flying at stall speeds so that both aircraft would be in the same shot.
♦ When filming wrapped, possibly early, the USS Nimitz was recalled to home base to participate in Operation Eagle Claw, the attempt to rescue the hostages held at the U.S. Embassy in Iran on April 24, 1980.
Archie Donahue: WWII Ace Pilot (HistoryNet/Jon Guttman/July 2007)
Filming of Final Countdown: You Want Us To Do What? (Pilots For Christ Forum/Administrator Don Gieseke/12-08-2016)
Commander Richard “Fox” Farrell: Lead F-14 Pilot (Dignity Memorial/03-31-2014)
Watch the movie for free: Daily Motion
Seventy years ago, today, the #1 film at the box office was A Letter to Three Wives, starring Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern, Kirk Douglas, Paul Douglas and Jeffrey Lynn. Celeste Holm provided the uncredited voice of Addie Ross. Directed by Joseph L Mankiewicz, the movie was adapted by Vera Caspary from a 1945 John Klempner Cosmopolitan magazine novel titled A Letter to Five Wives. Mankiewicz also wrote the screenplay.
Just as they are leaving with a group of orphans for a Hudson River outing, three suburban housewives receive a note from Addie Ross, a friend against whom each woman measures herself. Addie claims to have run off with one of the women’s husbands. As they try to get through the day, each thinks back on her marriage, considering the likely reason her husband would have run off with the other woman. Deborah (Jeanne Crain) remembers the disappointment her husband felt when he discovered the chic WAVE he fell for during World War II was a simple farm girl who could barely keep up with the educated Addie. Radio writer Rita (Ann Sothern) thinks her career as a radio writer has led her to neglect her husband (Kirk Douglas), who may have been drawn to the more attentive Addie. Social climber Lora Mae (Linda Darnell) recalls how she trapped department store magnate Porter Hollingsway (Paul Douglas) into marrying her when he had hoped to wed the more socially upright Addie. As the day finally ends, each returns home to prepare for the opening of the social season, the big country club dinner at which one of their husbands will not be present.
♦ The identity of the actress Celeste Holm who did the voice-over for Addie Ross was kept secret when the film was released. The studio held a number of “Who is Addie?” contests around the country where moviegoers could guess the actress’ name.
♦ General Douglas MacArthur was so confused by the ending that he had his aide write Joseph L. Mankiewicz a letter asking with whom Addie had, in fact, run off.
♦ The film actually went into production in 1946 as “A Letter to Five Wives” from a script by Melville Baker and Dorothy Bennett. Gene Tierney, Linda Darnell, Maureen O’Hara, Dorothy McGuire and Alice Faye were all earmarked to play the wives but, this version was quickly shelved until Joseph L. Mankiewicz retooled it in 1948.
♦ Both Joan Crawford and Ida Lupino were considered for Addie’s off-screen voice before Celeste Holm was cast. When Mankiewicz offered Holm a role that would never be seen in the film, she quipped, “Oh my, that’s wonderful. My wooden leg won’t have to show.” (Holm, quoted in Geist). She consented when he told her Crawford was after the role.
♦ When Ann Sothern’s look of joyful surprise on finding her husband hadn’t run off with Addie wasn’t strong enough, Mankiewicz had Kirk Douglas jump up from behind the set’s sofa (out of camera range) in only his underwear.
♥ Best Director & Best Writing/Screenplay (Joseph L. Mankiewicz/1950 Academy Awards)
♥ Best Written American Comedy (Joseph L. Mankiewicz & Vera Caspary/1950 Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award)
♥ Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Joseph L. Mankiewicz & Gaston Glass/1949 Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award)
♥ Top Ten Films (1949 National Board of Review (NBR) Award)