Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb (1980)
Not a Complete Bomb
"Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb": when it comes to movie titles that one certainly describes the movie. Part of the movie focuses on the men involved in the dropping of the bomb as well as their families both American and Japanese, another part focuses on the mission to drop the bomb and the difficulties they faced and then we get a bit of a science lesson as we learn about the Atomic bomb and some possible issues. As such there is part of me which is impressed by "Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb" for doing exactly what it says in the title.
But here is the thing, I am no expert on WWII or the Enola Gay so have to say right away I have no idea how much fact and fiction there is going on in "Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb". Taking a guess I would say that the writers whilst taking the facts of what happened altered them so the end result ended up a movie which was more entertaining than informative. As such we have a variety of scenes thrown in from humorous scenes of snappy dialogue which wouldn't have been out of place in an episode of "Sgt. Bilko" to scenes of intrigue and conspiracy whilst all the time trying to highlight how there was the need for secrecy and the dangers of what happened if someone let slip what was going on behind closed doors.
It is a good mix and the writers have tried to cover as many posts as possible including showing us things from the other side with James Shigeta showing up as Field Marshall Abehata. But at times it feels like it is trying too hard to incorporate everything and we have scenes which feel like they have no purpose other that to entertain such as one revolving around the men spotting a member of security masquerading as a plumber, it is a scene which goes nowhere and so only serves as entertainment.
That sense of being entertained extends to the casting and whilst I have always been a fan of Patrick Duffy I have to say that I wonder if his casting was as much to do with look liking Rock Hudson when in uniform as it was for being right as Colonel Paul Tibbets. In a similar way I wonder whether Billy Crystal was cast as Lieutenant Jacob 'Jake' Beser because he could deliver the quick fire dialogue and wise cracks which makes him an entertaining character. In fairness Crystal impresses as he does get in to character more than some of the other actors and is one of the movies real highlights.
What this all boils down to is that "Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb" is interesting and also entertaining which in many ways makes it a movie for people like me whose knowledge of what happened is limited but don't want to be weighed down by a heavy drama. But at the same time I get a sense that to make this entertaining some big liberties had to be taken from altering the actual events to the casting.
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