1941 Trailer (1979)

The trailer for 1941.

Late 1941, a young woman goes for a midnight swim, alone and naked (in a nod to the opening of the film Jaws) to find a Japanese submarine surfacing under her. She holds on to the periscope as it rises. The submarine crew realizes they have arrived where they intended to be, Hollywood, and the vessel submerges once again while the girl swims to safety. The Japanese submarine crew, led by Commander Mitamuru are joined by a hard-line German naval captain, and have crossed the Pacific Ocean to destroy something "honorable."

Back on land, dishwasher Wally Stephens makes plans to enter a dance contest with Betty Douglas, against her father's wishes. Tank crew Sgt. Frank Tree, Private Foley, and Corporal Sitarski are also at Wally's restaurant. Meanwhile, Captain Wild Bill Kelso lands his Curtiss P-40 fighter to refuel but accidentally blows up the gasoline station.

Just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, in Los Angeles, Major General Joseph Stilwell attempts to bring order, but Colonel Mad Man Maddox, the General's new secretary Donna Stratten and the General's assistant Captain Loomis Birkhead all have other ideas.

At the Douglas family home on the coast, Wally is confronted by Mr. Douglas and his wife Joan, still angry that he previously destroyed their car. Soon after, the tank crew arrive to deliver a large gun; Corporal Sitarski spots Betty.

The Japanese submarine becomes lost trying to find Los Angeles when the ship's compass is broken. A landing party captures a local timber merchant, Hollis Wood; on board the sub, they see he has a small Cracker Jack compass that he swallows. Wood escapes, while in Los Angeles, Major General Stilwell goes to see the feature film Dumbo. Captain Birkhead and Donna Stratten decide to go the local airfield where Colonel Madman Maddox has both aircraft and a belief the Japanese are about to attack.

At the USO dance, Sitarski and Betty are inside as Wally sneaks in with a stolen Shore Patrol's uniform, steals Betty away but ignites a massive brawl involving all the servicemen. Sgt Tree arrives in his tank just as Los Angeles goes to Red Alert with an unknown aircraft in the air. Ward Douglas spots the Japanese submarine lurking near his home. As Birkhead and Stratten fly over Los Angeles in the back of a purloined aircraft, civil defense batteries blast away. Chaos continues as Wild Bill joins the fight and crashes.

Wally commanders Sgt Tree's tank, Wild Bill follows on motorbike, crashing through a paint factory and then a turpentine factory. Meanwhile Ward Douglas begins firing at the Japanese submarine, destroying his house in the process. The submarine returns fire (Mitamuru: "Fire at that industrial structure!"), hitting an amusement park Ferris wheel which careens into the ocean. The tank sinks when the pier collapses as Wild Bill drives his motorbike into the ocean and swims to the submarine, where he is captured by the Japanese, who, believing their honorable mission accomplished, now return home. The German captain is thrown overboard by the Japanese and is later captured – becoming the only U.S. "victory".

The following morning, General Stilwell arrives at the Douglas home where Ward Douglas goes to hang a Christmas wreath, only to accidentally push his damaged home into the Pacific Ocean. The movie ends with all the characters in front of the foundations of the destroyed home.

1 min 53 sec


Posted On
November 16, 2009
Steven Spielberg

Robert Zemeckis

Universal Pictures

December 14, 1979
John Belushi
Ned Beatty
Dan Aykroyd
John Candy
Lorraine Gary
Trailer Tracks
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