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"The Longest Day"


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#1 Sabrejet

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 01:30 AM

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!! )  :o 

 

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!!    :D 

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Edited by Sabrejet, 06 June 2013 - 01:33 AM.


#2 m151mp

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 02:53 AM

i've always felt "the longest day" was well done. i remember the line, ..."i heard two clicks". i wonder how many newspapers here in the US will recognize the day?



#3 Backtheattack

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 03:40 AM

Wish I could visit at this day the events at the invasion coast in France.



#4 Sabrejet

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 04:29 AM

A "Longest Day" factoid.

 

"At $10,000,000, this film was the most expensive black and white film made until 1993, when Schindler's List was released."

 

In 1960-2 terms that was a mega- budget!!    :o 



#5 Jeeper704

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 04:41 AM

They showed "Saving Pvt. Ryan" on TV a few days ago.

Eventhough I have this movie on DVD, I still watched it.

 

The Longest Day was a movie I stayed up for (and sat blurry-eyed in school the day after).

Couldn't watch that horrible colorized version (I actually set the TV on black & white!).

Dreadful doesn't come even close!

 

No visiting Normandy this time too as I was scheduled for a small surgery on my back (nothing dramatic, just hurts like hell) and am now recuperating at home.

Next year it will be way too crowded to go visit.

I was there with the 50th Anniversary and eventhough I enjoyed it very much, it was at times very difficult to get to the places we wanted to see.

So many detours and roadblocks (because of those "big shots" attending the ceremonies).

 

Anyway, I hope those who are there will have a fine time and I look forward to seeing all the photos they took while there.

 

Erwin


Edited by Jeeper704, 06 June 2013 - 04:42 AM.


#6 Jack's Son

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 05:41 AM

Is this movies out in book form yet?? :)

Edited by Jack's Son, 06 June 2013 - 05:41 AM.


#7 Sabrejet

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 05:41 AM

Theme music...

 

 

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#8 Sabrejet

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 05:46 AM

Is this movies out in book form yet?? :)

Get around to you local Barnes & Noble today, JS;) 

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#9 Jack's Son

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 06:11 AM

Why then, have I never read a book repot about it? Must not be too good! :)

#10 Sabrejet

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 06:17 AM

Why then, have I never read a book repot about it? Must not be too good! :)

Maybe the fact that it was first published in 1959 has something to do with it....ie, before the majority  of forum-ers were born?  (you and I excepted, JS!   :o)  I first read it in the 70s...that and his other classic "A bridge too far"....also the basis of a film. I would heartily recommend both titles to any student of 20th century military history.



#11 rr01

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 06:57 AM

As a jumpmaster of questionable repute I can assure movie viewers that it is entirely possible for John Wayne and red Buttons to exit the same airplane yet land miles apart ;-}



#12 Sabrejet

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 07:08 AM

Throughout the tourist season,  a mannequin of John Steele hangs from the church tower in Ste Mere Eglise, as seen in the movie. However...in reality, he actually hung up on the opposite side! For cinematic reasons the movie director had him hang on the side overlooking the square...and there he's been ever since!



#13 Sabrejet

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 09:37 AM

Here he is!

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Edited by Sabrejet, 06 June 2013 - 09:39 AM.


#14 RustyCanteen

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 10:48 AM

Ok, I actually think "The Longest Day" is the better of the "D-Day" films out there. Historical inaccuracies and errors aside, it still has a good cast, a good story (for having to tie so many elements of the "day" together), and let's face it, the fact it's monochrome makes it more "period" anyway.

 

I'm sure there will be some who disagree, but it's still my favorite.



#15 littlebuddy

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 10:49 AM

what about a mention of "Tommy Sands"    singer and heart throb of all the young ladies back in the day !!!  i cant recall the part he played in the "longest day"



#16 Sabrejet

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 10:52 AM

what about a mention of "Tommy Sands"    singer and heart throb of all the young ladies back in the day !!!  i cant recall the part he played in the "longest day"

 

He played one of the Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc. There were a few "popsters" of the day in the movie actually...Fabian and Paul Anka, to name but two.



#17 littlebuddy

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 10:53 AM

didnt Paul Anka  sing the theme tune ????



#18 m151mp

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 10:56 AM

 

He played one of the Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc. There were a few "popsters" of the day in the movie actually...Fabian and Paul Anka, to name but two.

speaking of the rangers at pointe du hoc, when i was in vietnam, our commanding general had been one of those rangers. BG william ross bond was later killed in action, 1 april 1970, on the ground. RIP, sir.



#19 Sabrejet

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:07 AM

speaking of the rangers at pointe du hoc, when i was in vietnam, our commanding general had been one of those rangers. BG william ross bond was later killed in action, 1 april 1970, on the ground. RIP, sir.

I've been to Pointe Du Hoc several times. At the moment, much of it is fenced off to the public whilst the French try to stabilize the crumbling cliffs....but I can tell you that those Rangers must have been super-human to scale them...under fire...and then fight their way to their objectives! An unbelievable feat!



#20 101CH47

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:14 AM

I went with my dad to see the movie in 1962, I was six at the time.  Only movie I ever remember going to that had an intermission.  Still my favorite WWII movie.

 

I remember coming out of theater wanting to be in the 101st, finally made it in 1985.  :)


Edited by 101CH47, 06 June 2013 - 11:14 AM.


#21 history-buff1944

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:41 AM

Remembering D-Day here as well and my hat is permanently tipped to all of our Soldiers who were there.

 

Also, glad to see a few here are also remembering Drummer Lee Rigby. I did as well by sending a sympathy card to his Barracks as well as a separate letter.



#22 patches

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 12:31 PM

Cornelius Ryan made a third book, The Last Battle, about Berlin April 1945, If this was ever to be made on the scale of the movies for The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far, it would dwarf both of them.

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#23 Sabrejet

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:07 PM

Yes indeed Kevin.  An epic account of an epic battle.....with many more casualties than the Allies suffered on D-Day!   :o 



#24 BEAST

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 03:59 PM

No war movie can match "The Longest Day," nor has any movie tried. It didn't just tell the story of one small part of the invasion, but it successfully told  the WHOLE story. From the view point of all of the major players involved.  Plenty of inaccuracies, but we find 'em in all the movies we watch.  Overall it is unrivaled in presenting a big picture with a cast and storyline that keeps you interested.



#25 Garandomatic

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 05:26 AM

What kind of inaccuracies are we talking? It's been a long long time since I read the book, and quite a while since I had time to sit down and watch the whole movie.  I know the Airborne uniforms, chin cups, etc. are pretty bad, and that the "two clicks" deal had to be Hollywood, but are there any glaring HISTORICAL inaccuracies, as opposed to equipment issues?




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