The Longest Day
Directed by Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton and Bernhard Wicki
Written by Cornelius Ryan et al from Ryan’s book
Darryl F. Zanuck Production/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
First viewing/Netflix Instant
Yet another 1962 movie for my “Ten Favorite New-to-Me Films of 2017” list!
The film tells the story of D-Day June 6, 1944 and the hours before the invasion of Occupied France by Allied forces. Small personal stories and grand Cinemascope action scenes are combined.
We get the perspective of American, British, Free French, and German officers and soldiers. There is a cast of thousands. Prominent among them are Robert Mitchum, Eddie Albert, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Jeffrey Hunter, Richard Burton, Red Buttons and Robert Ryan – many of these actors appear only in cameos. Many French, German and British stars are also featured.
I don’t know how I avoided this one for so long – maybe it was the three hours length. Neither my husband nor I were bored for one second. I absolutely loved it. Some of the combat scenes are breathtaking. One of my favorites is of the two remaining Luftwaffe planes strafing a beach which utilizes every bit of Cinemascope’s potential. And Robert Mitchum saves the day! What could be better.
My only niggle is that a lot of exposition is rather clumsily inserted into the dialogue. On the other hand I can’t really think of a better way of telling the necessary history lesson. Highly recommended.
WARNING: This film is famous for being the first in which various actors speak their own languages. Subtitles were used for portions where the dialogue was not in the language of the country where it was shown. An English-only version was also made. It is the English-only version that is shown on Netflix Instant. That said, I don’t know that it marred my enjoyment much.
The Longest Day won Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White and Best Effects, Special Effects. It was nominated in the categories of Best Picture; Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and White; and Best Film Editing.