Every June 6, if I'm at home (this time last year I was in Normandy) I set aside time to watch either the classic war movie "The Longest Day" or, since their release, " Saving Private Ryan" and/or the "Day of Days" episode of "Band of Brothers."
Today, to begin with at least, it's going to be the digitally re-mastered version of "The Longest Day"....not to be confused with the dreadful "colorized" version (in which the famous 29th Div patch is actually red!! )
I first saw the movie as a boy, on its release in 1962. I recall going with my dad because it was a real "guy" movie!
Compared with more modern D-Day movies like Mr Speilberg's efforts, it's very "tame"...none of the gritty realism we've come to expect today...but it's of its time and has stood the test of time very well, IMHO.
It's based on the book of the same name by Cornelius Ryan and follows it pretty closely indeed. For the uninitiated, the book tells the story of D-Day via a series of inter-related narratives provided by people who were there...Americans, British, French, Canadians and the Germans etc. Each episode involving named characters is factual.
The cast of the film comprised of many big movie stars of the day....John Wayne...Robert Mitchum...Henry Fonda...Richard Burton to name but a few. Some appear in cameos but others have bigger parts. I doubt whether such a cast could be assembled today because their collective fees would be so astronomical! (A similar "big name" type of cast was later assembled for "A Bridge Too Far" back in the 70s)
The film isn't perfect, by any means. Collectors will always have a field day spotting the uniform/equipment errors, particularly in regard to the US paratroops. This always surprises me because WW2 was less than 20 years behind them then, so there must have been a ton of surplus WW2 gear available to them?!
I like the fact that many of the locations used were the places where these events actually occurred, for example, the square in Ste Mere Eglise , Werner Pluskat's bunker and Pegasus Bridge ( As a side note, when I was in Ste Mere last year, one of the rubber US paratrooper dummies used in the making of the movie was actually for sale in one of the militaria shops on the square!)
I also like the fact that the film is sub-titled. The Germans speak German...the French speak French and so forth. I think this is much better than the usual "Ve haff vays off makink you tock, Tommy!" pseudo German accents often used in the movies!
It's quite a long movie too with a running time of approx. 168 minutes. Being in black and white adds a kind of "newsreel" quality to it, which I like. It also has a very catchy theme-tune (written by Paul Anka) and, of course the good guys win in the end. What more could you want!
Right...time to crank up the DVD player make a coffee, put my feet up and enjoy, I think!!
Edited by Sabrejet, 06 June 2013 - 01:33 AM.