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Factual error: The San Francisco house that Paula Prentiss leaves in order to catch the trolley to meet with her husband Tom Tryon's arriving ship is located on the corner of Lombard and Hyde Street. Famous for being the most crooked street in the world, is a mile and a half from the piers. In a later scene they are indoors when Tom Tryon pulls a shade down, you can see the San Francisco Bay Bridge and piers just below. This view would mean the house has moved to San Francisco's Telegraph Hill, the only location with such a clear view of the bridge, which is quite a distance away from the house's original location.
Continuity: Early in the film Commander Eddington's wife drunkenly leaps out of the car driven by Hugh O'Brian's character and runs into the ocean naked. She is empty handed and was not seen carrying anything throughout all of the previous dancing scenes. Yet, the next morning on the beach she is seen opening her purse putting on makeup. Where did the purse come from?
Continuity: In the first few scenes concerning Captain Torrey's task group, the weather is sunny and clear (as it was Dec. 7, 1941). However, at one point when Cmdr Eddington enters the bridge, he is in very wet foul weather gear, and the same when they go into the coding room to decode the message to "seek-out" the enemy. Later when steaming toward the enemy the weather is clear again.
Factual error: When Rock is shaving, and then when he goes to Eddington's cabin, both cabins and the passageway have fluorescent lights. Since this type of lighting wasn't commercially available until earlier in 1941, it is unlikely that an elderly heavy cruiser like "Swayback" would have been equipped with such modern lighting.
Factual error: As LTJG McConnell is standing to colors on the USS Cassidy, he gets a call from the radio room, informing him that they are picking up "plane to plane chatter in Japanese". Until the attack actually commenced, the Japanese maintained strict radio silence, and upon commencement the coded signals "To, To, To", and "Tora, Tora, Tora" were sent by Fuchida's radioman, neither of which would necessarily be interpreted as Japanese.
Continuity: During the discussions right after the attack on Pearl, between CINCPAC and all the admirals over the plotting table, Dana Andrews is nowhere to be seen. Then after a quick cut away and back, suddenly he is there just to the right of CINCPAC with all the other actors magically rearranged to make a space for him.
Factual error: Just before John Wayne's ship is torpedoed there are several shots of a neighboring destroyer out of the bridge's windows. The bow number is 298. DD-298 is the USS Percival, which was launched on 5 December 1918 and decommissioned on 26 April 1930 and scrapped in 1931. This is over 10 years before the beginning of WWII.
Plot hole: As Torrey's task force seeks out the Japanese, the JL talker on the bridge informs the Captain that the starboard lookout reports a ship on the bow. Immediately everyone goes over to the port side to see the vessel, which appears (through the binoculars) to be about five miles distant. Poor lookout discipline.
Factual error: As the attack commences, USS Cassidy's temporary skipper, LTJG McConnell instructs engineering to "light off all four boilers", and to prepare to get underway. Within minutes, the ship is moving, however, bringing a head of steam up from cold boilers takes almost an hour. The Cassidy, ostensibly a Clemson-class vessel only had four boilers.
Factual error: Commander (later Captain) Eddington has a problem identifying warships. At Pearl Harbor, he incorrectly identifies USS Providence (CL82) as an AA cruiser (hull's in the 50's). Then, while piloting the PBJ in search of the Japanese fleet, he identifies the Yamato as having 12 main guns.
Revealing: A the beginning of the attack on Pearl Harbor Destroyer 298 in the harbor. A shot of the ship shows an empty depth charge rack; a subsequent shot shows 1 charge on the rack, a tear shape type which was not introduced until later in the war. When the ship later attacks a Japanese sub the shot shows the old "ash can" charge being dropped.