Thursday, April 11, 2013

Emperor (Rhoades)

“Emperor” Is Post-War
Thriller and Love Story

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

My former father-in-law served under General Douglas McArthur. He was there in Japan after the Emperor surrendered. He never forgave Harry Truman from firing McArthur.
By 1951, McArthur was becoming too powerful and defiant. After conferring with the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Secretary of State, Truman decided to relieve McArthur from duty for what he saw as insubordination. The unpopular decision caused Truman’s approval rating to plummet to 23 percent, the lowest of any serving U.S. President in history.
McArthur had an imperious demeanor. After all, his successes were many. Not only did he become the Army’s youngest Major General, he eventually became Chief of Staff of the United States Army. Then after being called out of retirement, he served as Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific Area and was the only man ever to become a field marshal in the Philippine Army.
In addition to being a Metal of Honor winner, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross twice and the Silver Star seven times. And as we see in the new film called “Emperor,” he was the military leader who officially accepted Japan’s surrender on September 2, 1945, and oversaw the occupation of Japan. As Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), he served as the effective ruler of Japan from 1945 to 1951. So you may question whether the film’s title refers to Japan’s Emperor Hirohito … or McArthur himself.
“Emperor” is currently reining the screens at the Tropic Cinema.
In the film, Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones takes on the role of McArthur -- pipe, metals, and all. Matthew Fox joins him as MacArthur’s military protégé, Bonner Fellers. And Takatarô Kataoka portrays Emperor Shōwa (as Hirohito was later called).
The post-war storyline follows Fellers as he investigates the role of Emperor Shōwa in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He must decide whether or not to charge the Emperor as a war criminal. At the same time, the script by David Klass and Vera Blasi interweaves the story of Fellers’ love affair with a Japanese exchange student.
Fellers’s quest to find her in the ravaged post-war Japan enables him to remember his humanity and come to the momentous decision to exonerate the Emperor and his family.
Director Peter Webber (“Girl with a Pearl Earring”) says, “The fact that all this came wrapped up in a tense political thriller with an epic love story at the heart of it made it irresistible.”
“Emperor” was produced by Yoko Narahashi (“The Last Samurai”), Gary Foster (“Sleepless in Seattle”), Eugene Nomura (“Tajomaru”), and Russ Krasnoff (“The Soloist”).
Producer Yoko Narahashi says, “An amazing story – it’s always about a great story. US films have been produced about Japan. By uniting filmmakers from Japan, the US and the UK, we can bring light to the men who really changed history.”

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