Midway conclusion

Hue Miller

So I saw this movie Sunday last. I myself would rate it 2 out of 4 stars. Mostly I downrate it for some amateurish dialog and ( what I felt was ) some

inauthentic character types. But I mostly went to get the "feeling" of the time and place anyway, and I do not at all feel my time was not spent well.

One member of our groups commented "too many rapid scene changes". Yes, probably so. Maybe people have shorter attention spans now and

expect that, are used to that? I don't know.


I noticed right up front there was a credit to some Shanghai film studio or company. I read that 25% of the $100M production cost was provided by

Chinese investment. For me this maybe explains some scenes where Doolittle's men after bailing out over China, are guided by Chinese guerrilla forces.

After a village is bombed by Japanese planes, one of the Chinese comments something like "the Japanese are making war on the Chinese people". I

mean the implication was that it was not only a war for territory. Of course we know that there lives on, and understandably so, a great deal of anti-

Japanese resentment in Japan's former colonial projects.


The episode of the execution of the American pilots I thought not quite accurate, not supportable. Certainly American pilots were routinely executed,

but whether captivity or execution varied by time and place. My argument with these scenes is that the method shown in the film was unlikely.  


Now back on – topic. As Brian Harrison has commented, the producers were offered the correct Navy radios for the radio room scenes, but replied

that production was too far along to change plans now. The British air forces R-1155 does light up very nicely, and the Hallicrafters SX-25 also has nicely

lighted dials. Of course, both sets are "wrong" for such actual U.S.. Navy station. I note that also there is no reason for the radioman's typewriter to have

the typewriter carrying case behind it on the desk. No reason to have a portable typewriter at your radio desk.


We are "picky", aren't we? But – that's our job, right ?


There was also the Zenith Trans-Oceanic, first model, "bomber style", radio shown playing 'Radio Tokyo'. Yamamoto's home is also shown, with the

family listening to some multiband table radio, one with the typical tuning dial city markings as you maybe are familiar with on German tables radios

and such. ( I am pretty sure Yamamoto family did have a multiband home radio and I seem to recall a 1930s U.S. radio magazine photo showing the

children at home listening. ) ( Yes, I was surprised  to see that photo, too !! )


I thought in another scene I saw a VERY short glimpse of an AN/URR-35  VHF receiver, but it went by too fast to be sure. At some time in the future,

I may or may not freeze the movie and do some screen shots of particular scenes of interest.


I saw one item I suspect very few viewers picked up on. The flight suits of the Japanese aviators seemed to me quite realistic. BUT I was very surprised

indeed so see in one front – on view, the Japanese pilot had a particular microphone on. This was a short cylinder type thing that fastened over the

flyer's mouth. Of course, such device precluded any use of oxygen, so this limited the maximum operational altitude. The particular model of this

microphone attachment seemed to have a 'voice tube' exiting from the front of it. This 'microphone' is correct for the time but a single pilot fighter

plane of course has no use for a voice tube. I think there was also a similar model microphone attachment but equipped with electrical element. I

believe I have one of those. It truly is a mystery why those particular things are so very rare now ! There had to be a big supply just lying around, at one

time. In the same scene, which also passes by very fast, it looked like the pilot reaches down to flip a switch on what looks to me like a Type 99-3 voice

radio transmitter. You only see the corner of the radio, and very momentarily, but I thought I recognized the radio package and control markings.

Again, right equipment for the time, but wrong place – not used in 'Zero' fighter.

-Hue Miller











Good points and observations Hue. I’m now re-thinking taking the wife out to see it (oh, I will anyway...)


I’ve dealt with movie kit suppliers in the past and generally have a poor opinion of them. Expediency over authenticity every time. That’s fair if the originals are not available but if they are, and they go the easy route anyway, there’s no excuse. The other ‘concession’ seems to be the computer generated aircraft that resemble Star Wars X wings zooming around at twice their real speed like some kind of amped up video game. They completely ruined a remake of Peal Harbour using this technique a few years ago and apparently did the same for Midway. Have these guys never seen a real WW2 aircraft fly at an air show? Or do they have to do this nonsense to appeal to game addicted youngsters?  I recall the time here in Canada a wardrobe group ‘cleaned up’ dozens of sets of original WW1 ’08 Pattern web gear by blanco-ing them 1950’s green. Because, like, what’s the difference and who cares, right?


Bruce Parker