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October 1962
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The Longest Day (1962)

DIRECTOR: 

American scenes: Andrew Marton

British scenes: Ken Annakin

German scenes: Bernhard Wicki

CAST:

Americans: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda, Richard Beymer, Rod Steiger, Sal Mineo, Roddy McDowall, Eddie Albert, George Segal, Paul Anka, Red Buttons, Fabian, Mel Ferrer, Steve Forrest, Robert Ryan, Robert Wagner, Stuart Whitman

British: Richard Burton, Peter Lawford, Kenneth More, Sean Connery

Germans: Curt Jürgens, Hans Christian Blech, Heinz Reincke, Paul Hartmann, Richard Münch, Wolfgang Preiss, Peter Van Eyck, Werner Hinz, Gert Fröbe

French: Irina Demick, Christian Marquand, Georges Wilson

REVIEW:

The king of the ’60s and ’70s epic WWII films.  One of the most colossal productions ever mounted, and a pet project of high-rolling Hollywood mogul Darryl F. Zanuck, The Longest Day was an adaptation of journalist and author Cornelius Ryan’s book of the same name, a 180 degrees chronicle of D-Day from compiled interviews from both Allied and German participants, as well as French Resistance agents and civilians.  Like Ryan’s book, the movie tells the story of the pivotal Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France in June 1944 from every conceivable angle, from the Allied commanders risking it all on a nail-biting roll of the dice, to their harried German counterparts across the English Channel struggling to organize an effective counterattack amid hopeless confusion, to the common soldiers fighting it out on the beaches and in the hedgerows, to the French Resistance fighters doing their part to aid the liberation of their country, to the French civilians, overjoyed even as they are plunged into the middle of one of the most famous battles in history.  This is a boon to history buffs with a strong interest in the subject matter, while those less enthralled might uncharitably refer to The Longest Day as “the longest movie” (it runs a formidable three hours).  It’s not for everyone, and it lacks the intensity and immediacy of smaller-scale, more character-driven onscreen depictions of the D-Day invasion from Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers, but for history buffs seeking a comprehensive overview of D-Day, or fans of classic ’60s and ’70s war films, this is an epic “classic” the way they don’t make them anymore. Continue reading

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