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The Emperor and a General
(NIHON NO ICHIBAN NAGAI HI) 1967, b/w., 158 min; a.k.a., Japan's Longest Day, from Soichi Oja's book of the same title. A Toho Film.

(Review from A Tribute to Toshiro Mifune: 40 Films Starring Japan's Greatest Actor)

Director: Kihachi Okamoto. Screenplay: Shinobu Hashimoto. Photography: Hiroshi Murai. Music: Masaru Sato. Co-stars: So Yamamura, Takashi Shimura, Yuzo Kayama, Chishu Ryu, Koshiro Matsumoto.

On August 14, 1945 at a meeting of Japan's government leaders, the Emperor recommended acceptance of the Potsdam declaration and urged his ministers to surrender to the Allies. The cabinet had been sharply divided: some members saw the futility of continuing the war and pressed for a quick settlement; the other faction, primarily those allied with War Minister Korechika Anami, insisted that the nation fight to the finish. The Emperor's personal intervention ended debate and set in motion preparations for surrender. But a group of fanatical young army officers devoted to Anami attempt a coup d'etat and try to prevent the Emperor's broadcast of surrender. They fail, the nation surrenders, and General Anami commits suicide.

This gripping account of a dramatic 24-hour struggle features Mifune as the adamant Anami. He is flanked by an all-star cast.

Oya's best-selling book and this film were part of a trend in the 60s toward detailed examination of some of the pivotal events of World War II. The similarity of Oya's title to that of the Oscar-winning 1962 John Wayne film about D-Day is not coincidental.

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