Cast & Crew
Charles W. Rhodes
This film documents World War II battles between Japanese soldiers and American, British and Dutch forces in the Pacific during 1941--1945, as photographed by Japanese Army and Navy cameramen. Beginning on 7 Dec 1941, the footage covers Japanese parades and celebrations used to bolster soldiers' morale. Next, using footage taken from Japanese planes, the film depicts the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The film continues with the battle for Manila and the surrender ceremonies at Corregidor, in which American soldiers are shown being taken as prisoners of war. Also covered are the Bataan Death March and death sentences being given to the American airmen involved in the 1942 bombing raid over Tokyo led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle. Considerable footage of kamikaze pilots attacking American vessels is shown, as well as machine gun battalion warfare in Okinawa, Japan and the American territory, Wake Island. The film concludes with the eventual victory of the Allied Forces and Japanese men and women weeping at Emperor Hirohito's announcement of surrender. Other seminal figures seen in the film are Japanese dictator Hedeki Tojo and American General Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright.
A 25 April 1951 The Exhibitor article states that Paul Dubov provides the film's narration, which is predominantly a translation of the original Japanese soundtrack. According to a July 14, 1951 New York Times review, the film was shot by order of the war-time Japanese dictator Hedeki Tojo for use as propaganda to bolster Japanese soldiers during World War II. A March 21, 1951 San Francisco Chronicle article states that American military veterans who previewed the film claim Suicide Attack had several errors in its narration, including misdating the fall of Corregidor and misnaming the Filipino head of government.
Producer John Florea, a Life magazine photographer, acquired the footage from the Japanese Army-Navy Camera Center in Tokyo after the Japanese surrender. Florea was subsequently assigned to cover the surrender ceremonies in Hong Kong, Batavia, Manila, Singapore and Bangkok, some of which were included in the film. The original release of Suicide Attack was delayed because the United States Army requisitioned the films for use in war crime trials.