In The Eye of the Storm
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fascinating film- a documentary of the Aleutian Islands campaign during WWII which focuses on a US bombing mission from Adak to Kiska- which was in Japanese hands. Remember this is a documentary- the real thing, and shot in color. We start off in Adak's central command base and get a sense of patriotic life in this harsh and forlorn corner of America. We meet brave young US Armed Servicemen at the forefront of the 'Ring of Fire' campaign. Then we are taken aboard a bomber and embark alongside a bomber squadron for the majectic but intense flight to Kiska. We are there during final onboard tactical considerations and through the entire bombing mission. This is very intense stuff- because it is real. There is a rattling of the plane and a whistling sound as we see the bombs falling onto the Japanese port base of Kiska and see anti-aircraft fire whizz by us in return. Phew!I am not an alpha-male, 'go-get-em Rambo' combat freak by any means. That's not what this film, or WW II was about. This film captures the essence of true American struggle, risk, and heroicism, and, as a matter of fact, was up for the academy award for best documentary when it was firt released back in the 1940's. Its really that memorable."
Excellent Chronicle of Little-Known Theater of WWII Air War
Rob Morris | Idaho Falls, ID United States | 12/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a historian with great interest in the air war in World War II, I found this to be a great movie about a facet of air combat in World War II that has never gotten much attention--certainly not as much as it deserves. The Japanese, in a grasp for control of the Pacific early in the war, attempted to take Midway and the outer islands in the Alaskan chain. They managed to take Kiska and hold it. This is the story of how the US military went up to Alaska, and, under terribly harsh conditions, built an air base out of aluminum to bomb the Japanese and eventually expel them from North America. It is a tribute to US ingenuity. Everything the US needed it had to bring in, except fresh water. Whe weather was awful. One to two feet of water sat on the runway most of the time. The wind howled. There was no entertainment or diversion for the men. And yet the US successfully built a base from scratch. The pilots successfully flew missions off a runway that was underwater in their B-24's, B-17's and support fighters, and the enemy was expelled.
The most amazing shots in the video are of the big planes taking off and landing in huge spumes of water. How did they do it?! Also, great shots of low-level bombing raids of Kiska and of the bleak Alaskan landscape. This is a must-have video for any air war buff. Highly recommended! And for the price, how can you lose? Also available on DVD or in sets.
This film is also shot in FULL COLOR, rare for WWII footage."
Progress of Japanese Halted in Award-Winning Documentary.
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 04/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director John Huston, while a member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1943, creates an Academy Award winning documentary that he narrates with assistance from his actor father Walter, treating of the Armed Forces' successful effort to prevent the fall of the Aleutian Islands to advancing Japanese troops who had captured several islets. Although no claim can be reasonably made that this location was of major strategic importance during the War, it presented enormous tactical and logistic difficulty for those assigned there, and Huston's colour film demonstrates the determined ensemble work upon the outpost of Adak by a wide range of military specialists who combat loneliness and boredom along with notably severe weather conditions. The work was made over a six month period, and is climaxed by the preparations for, followed by an actual filming of, a bombing run over Japanese-occupied Kiska, wherein Huston nearly lost his life, and that is significant for its combat footage and for the atmosphere of suspense present in the viewer who wonders if all will return safely.