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6

FRIDAY

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Long before Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett used the attack on Pearl Harbor to boost their romantic-lead status, John Ford simulated the Japanese raid for a larger purpose: to win the war. One of the many Hollywood veterans who wore a uniform during World War II, Ford (aided by narrator Walter Huston and Citizen Kane cinematographer Gregg Toland) enlisted the customary tricks—including miniatures and rear projection—to make December 7th. The effect was so convincing that the docudrama has often been mistaken for a documentary. The original film criticized the U.S. military for being unprepared for the Japanese assault, but the brass eliminated that commentary before the movie went into general release. Several versions of the film were circulated, one as short as 34 minutes, but this screening is of the full 85-minute cut, which is rarely shown (and not available on video). Check it out at noon at the National Archives and Records Administration’s Room 105, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free. For reservations call (202) 501-5050. (Mark Jenkins)