Today is the 70the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Greatest Generation's 9/11.
Since then the Day of Infamy has shown up in many movies, most notably 1970's Tora! Tora! Tora! and 2001's Pearl Harbor. Any such movie subjects itself to the eagle eyes of "rivet-heads," the experts who are always ready to leap up in outrage at any tiny deviation the military equipment in a movie might have from what was used in real life. This also extends to any error of any type.
The Web site IMDb is a leading chronicler of reader-submitted "goofs"; here are five of the nit-pickiest for the two films.
Tora! Tora! Tora! 5. Critiquing the German guns in a Japanese-attack movie The German guns seen for approximately 2.4 seconds of screen time, if we recall correctly.
When the movie moves to Nazi Germany for the Japanese signing of the Tripartite Pact, the SS guard outside the Reichschancellery is shouldering a Mauser with a late war barrel band. As materials and time became scarce in Germany, they had a cheap stamped barrel band instead of the early pressed (H-type) one
4. A state-park historian weighs in
Check out the BBQ grill in one of the scenes. They were not in Hawaii's parks until the 1950s.
3. Thank you for pointing this out
The B-17's used in the movie are F and G models. The B-17s arriving from Hamilton Field, California during the attack were a mix of D and E-models.
2. Can you believe they were six months off?
When the submarine is strafed at the beginning of the attack, a destroyer in the background carries the number 446. This number was assigned to the USS Radford, commissioned in May 1942.
1. The watch industry weighs in, because that's what you're concentrating on when the attack finally begins in Tora! Tora! Tora!
Early in the attack, one deck officer is shown wearing a "Caravelle" wristwatch with the imprint "Waterproof" on the dial face. Bulova's web site indicates that the Caravelle line of watches was introduced in 1962, some 21 years after the attack.
Pearl Harbor 5. The most important thing about hero Doris Miller
Doris Miller is shown as a petty officer second class. Miller was in fact a petty officer third class at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack.
4. Now hear this
While attempting to free drowning sailors one engineer can be seen using a welding torch to cut the hull. The torch's sound is that of an arc welding torch which would have been too bulky and dangerous to use on a capsized vessel.
3. Desecrating the name of the Filmo
When the photographer that is recording the attack with a small handheld video camera (specifically the Bell & Howell Filmo) is shot by the attacking aircraft, you see him being filmed by his own camera after he has been killed. In reality, the Filmo only records when a button on the camera is being held down, if it has been released the filming will stop instantly. There is no way the camera would continue to film him while lying untouched near his body.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
2. If you can't trust the typography...
In the scene in the Cryptography office, as Dan Aykroyd mutters about the Japanese flooding the Pacific with radio traffic, the ticker-tape coded messages are printed out in Helvetica, a font not designed until the 1950s.
1. This one ruined the whole movie for me. As did the rest of the movie, actually
The rimless eyeglasses worn by Dan Aykroyd's character, with the lenses held in place by a nylon wire, are a relatively modern invention. Back in WWII, the only rimless eyeglasses that would have been available were what were called "drill-mounts"; holes were drilled into the lenses, and the nose bridge and temples were screwed into the lenses via these drill holes. Nylon wire rimless glasses didn't come into use until many years later.