1941 (1979)

1941

A Japanese submarine approaches Los Angeles a week after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The local residents react in a mixture of madcap ways…

Seen before? Yes, just once. It was on Freeview channel Movie Mix last year (they seem to show it every other day at times).

Best performance: Wendie Jo Sperber, who later played Marty McFly’s whinny sister, is very funny as party girl Maxine Dexheimer.

Best scene/moment/sequence: A joyously choreographed fight in a dance hall is the movie’s highlight. It’s wittily staged stuff. Here’s a bit of it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOVNs9sT32k

Review: So much effort, so much money, so many people – and it results in this nonsense. 1941 is pretty much a sketch film, and while there are a few hits, it’s mostly misses. The visual gags tend to be the most successful: as well as the dance hall stuff, the trashing of an entire house at the film’s climax is entertaining. And it’s quite fun spotting famous faces in cameo roles (the structure means that pretty much everyone in it is a cameo): Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, Lorraine Gary, Christopher Lee, Tim Matheson, Nancy Allen, John Candy, Michael McKean, John Landis, Mickey Rourke… But on the whole it’s a chore to sit through.

Five ferris wheels out of 10.

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