Floats my Boat

John Belushi in 1941 (1979)

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbour and the sight of a Japanese sub off of the coast of California, hysteria grips the state. As Capt. Wild Bill Kelso (John Belushi) flies his plane up and down the coast looking for combat other arms of the army as well as civilians prepare for a possible invasion. Well not everyone as Capt. Loomis Birkhead (Tim Matheson) has the hots for Donna Stratton (Nancy Allen) who gets turned on by planes.

Do you know what the problem with Steven Spielberg's "1941" is, it is public expectations especially those of 1979 as this wasn't a movie with a story it was a parody, it was a forerunner to "Airplane" with lots of daft gags built around a slim storyline. Unfortunately it seems back in 1979 audiences didn't see this or if they did they didn't want it as ever since "1941" has been described as Spielberg's turkey when in truth it isn't, it's a lot of fun.

Dan Aykroyd in 1941 (1979)

As such there isn't a lot to say when it comes to the storyline to "1941" as it uses the idea of California fearing an invasion as little more than a vehicle for a lot of set pieces through to throw away gags. These range from an opening scene which sees Spielberg spoofing himself to an amusing gag featuring the horny Birkhead trying to have his way with Donna in a stationary plane and dropping his load. There are other gags as well from simple slapstick to big production numbers such as a fight at a dance hall which John Wayne and Victor McLaglen would have been proud of.

Now in fairness Spielberg isn't the greatest when it comes to comedy and with "1941" feeling like a parody it is a case that almost as often as a joke works one fails but for me he does a decent job. Not only that Spielberg has got himself a good cast with the likes of Belushi, Aykroyd, Williams and Allen all having a natural talent for this sort of stupidity and so even some jokes which kind of fail still make you smile because of their delivery.

What this all boils down to is that "1941" is certainly not the Spielberg turkey which many would have you believe and is in fact a lot of fun with a good cast even if it is a little uneven when it comes to the effectiveness of the jokes.

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